Pregnancy is one of those things that with the good (a beautiful new child) comes the bad.
And the bad can range from a lot of things such as heartburn, “morning” sickness, gestational diabetes, back pain, etc. And then they always tell you to rest, to take a break and get some sleep.
Or the best one, sleep now before the baby comes because then you will never get any more sleep. Well, I can tell you from experience that this is not true for everyone. Some of us now have toddlers and older children that sleep through the night, but again, every child is different, and so are their sleep patterns.
In an effort to help you get through some of the issues that come with something so great we wanted to give you some basic sleeping tips that help with a range of ailments (including just getting comfortable) so that you can get some rest.
A rested mamma, especially one that has other children in the home, is a better one. So read on and prepare to hopefully count some more sheep and get some more sleep in your near future.
Buy All The Pillows
Really though, having a great pillow when pregnant might be one of the most essential purchases that one could make.
It might seem silly however a body pillow comes highly recommended when it comes to those advanced weeks and months when the belly is getting bigger and heavier.
The best place for the pillow is between your legs (when side sleeping) and under your belly. It helps with support while lying in this position and takes the pressure off your backs and hips .
This can be essential if you suffer from pain to helping reduce this and get you some sound sleep. And sleeping on your left side is recommended to allow the blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys to be at their peak .
Lift Yourself Up
This could be beneficial for a few different reasons. Two of those reasons could be heartburn and also breathing difficulties.
Now if you have severe issues with breathing, speak with your doctor ASAP, however, if there is nothing wrong and it’s just because the baby is taking up more room and your lungs are taking a hit, it might help to lift up the bed.
While pillows do a great job of lifting you up, they have a tendency to move. Using a wedge under the mattress can lift the whole bed and your whole body making it easier to breathe  (thank you gravity) and also helping with heartburn by reducing the amount that is coming up thanks to the incline.
Tell Your Family to put on Sweaters
I know, that’s selfish, however, in the best interest of your precious sleep, make it cooler. Especially in the summer. During pregnancy, the extra blood flow makes you inherently warmer than others (plus you are carrying and growing another human).
This means that in order to sleep better, you either have to turn the thermostat down in the summer to make it cooler at night (and turn it down at least an hour before bed so that it’s already cool) and in the winter keep the heat lower as well.
Being too warm can make sleep nearly impossible, so the cooler you are (but not freezing) the better you can relax and sleep.
Avoid Drinking too Late
While you should stay hydrated, it’s also important to get your fluids in at the right times.
Instead of having a huge glass of water before bed, just take a sip, and start decreasing your fluids the closer you get to bedtime. You already have enough pressure on your bladder and you don’t need anymore.
Also, instead of just heading to bed, do like we make the children do, and go to the bathroom right before, even if you don’t think you have to.
Going to bed not as full of fluids and with an empty bladder can make sleep more peaceful (and give you the ability to go longer without having to get up).
Create a Routine
Many people thrive on routine, and our bodies and minds are no different. Just like children do better with a set routine at night to help them wind down mentally, an adult can use them as well.
This can be especially great for the expecting parent too. Taking the time to relax and do a set routine can help to clear the mind and get to sleep quicker .
Here is a perfect example of a bedtime routine for those that are pregnant:
- Do some bedtime prenatal yoga, and you can find some great ones on YouTube. Just be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that it’s safe for you to workout.
- Take a nice warm shower or bath (not too hot) and use a great lotion (one with lavender could be great because lavender is known to promote sleep. Dr. Teals  does have an amazing lavender lotion and soak, but you can also make your own if you are so inclined).
- Make a cup of warm (caffeine free) tea along with a small light snack such as cereal with milk.
- Sit with said cup of tea and read a little bit or listen to a podcast, some music, write in a journal, whatever you like to zone out too.
- Go into your bed and relax, maybe with some meditation (guided or unguided) and relish in the ease in which you can get to sleep.
This is just a sample routine, do what works for you but it can be a great starting point.
Get Moving During the Day
While you might not feel like getting up and getting moving during the day, it could be extremely beneficial to help you get some sleep at night.
The more you work your body, the more it needs rest, and then the easier you should be able to fall asleep at night. A tired body that is tired from exercise and exertion tends to be one that will more readily relax at night.
Though you may be thinking there is nothing you can do pregnant (YouTube videos can offer proof that pregnancy doesn’t have to hold you back) there are plenty of pregnancy approved things (just check with your doctor) to do such as walking, yoga, swimming , and for some depending on their physical levels prior to pregnancy, can continue what they were doing for the most part.
These are some basic tips for helping you to sleep when you really need it the most, and the first-trimester exhaustion tends to come back in the third (if you were lucky enough for it to go away during the second trimester).
Getting sleep will be essential to getting through pregnancy feeling more refreshed on a regular basis. Take the time to relax and figure out what works best for you in getting that much-needed rest.
- WebMD. Comfort Tips for Sleeping. [Link]
- Parents. Top 10 Pregnancy Sleep Tips. [Link]
- Dawn Kingston Ph.D. via Psychology Today. 9 Tips for Getting Better Sleep While Pregnant. [Link]
- same as #2
- Dr. Teal’s Products. [Link]
- Mustela. 10 Ways To Sleep Better While Pregnant. [Link]