Women feel very tired during pregnancy, especially during their first trimester, and require more sleep than before. The early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, heartburn, midnight toilet trips, indigestion, and even restless leg syndrome (RLS) may affect the sleep patterns. However, a few lifestyle tweaks can improve your first-trimester sleep to make you sleep like a baby.
Baby cheats helps you understand various sleep problems, the importance of sleeping positions, and ways that can reclaim sound slumber during the first trimester.
Reasons Behind Lack Of Sleep During First Trimester:
Your body goes through a lot of changes, which disrupt your sound sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation (1998) Poll on Women and Sleep, 78% of women are reported to experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy than at other times. Listed below are the signs that hamper your sleep in the early pregnancy stage.
1. Drowsy All The Time:
You will feel very sleepy early in your pregnancy especially during the day. The rise of progesterone hormone brings about this sudden change in sleep patterns. This hormone regulates the woman’s reproductive cycle making you drowsy. The thermogenic (heat producing) and soporific (sleep-inducing) effects of progesterone lead to fatigue and early sleep onset and make you exhausted, giving the false notion of the flu.
A research study “Longitudinal Changes In Sleep Architecture During Pregnancy and Postpartum” by Dr. Lee, found that in the first trimester, the total sleep time increases, but is of poor quality due to waking up constantly. There is also a reduction in a deep sleep when compared to pre-pregnancy. Most women complained of drowsiness, fatigue, and also depression.
2. Discomfort With Body Changes:
Your tender and sore breasts make it difficult for you to sleep comfortably. If you prefer to lie on your stomach, it will be less comfortable as your bump starts showing up.
Solution: Try sleeping on your side, which is an ideal position for your baby’s nourishment. Also, make sure you wear a proper bra to suit your growing breasts. You can wear a comfortable sports bra or maternity sleep bra while sleeping and use a body pillow to support your sore breasts. If breast soreness is disrupting your sleep, your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen, FDA Pregnancy Category C drug.
3. Frequent Urge To Urinate:
Progesterone hormone is also partially responsible for the never-ending urge to urinate (1). The inhibitory effects of the hormones on smooth muscles stimulate the urge. With the progressing pregnancy, the growing bump will also put pressure on the bladder and therefore increase the urination frequency. You will be waking up frequently to relieve your bladder, and it will, therefore, disturb your slumber at nights.
Solution: If you are tired of the bathroom visits, try not to cut off the fluid intake. Instead, drink more during the daytime and less before bedtime. Also cut off caffeine drinks like tea, coffee, and cola.
Morning sickness is quite common in the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy, and most women develop nausea at any time of the day. It can also wake you up in the night, thus disrupting your sleep. Nausea is mostly exacerbated by low blood sugar levels in pregnancy .
Solution: You can beat nausea by trying some herbal remedies or supplements after consulting your doctor. Ginger is one great remedy to overcome this. Acupressure helps too.
5. Heartburn Issues:
Progesterone hormone shows relaxing effects on everything in your body. It also relaxes the smooth muscles that are opening into your stomach from the esophagus. It, therefore, allows stomach contents and acids flow back into your esophagus, causing indigestion after your meal, disrupting your sleep post-dinner.
Solution: You should give proper time for the food to digest before you sleep. Eat slowly and keep a track of foods which can cause problems.
6. Stress And Anxiety:
The first-trimester pregnancy is a combination of surprises and excitement, especially for first-time moms. While adjusting to the physical and mental changes, a few women may feel great, and others awful. A study on first-time moms vs experienced moms showed that the experienced women had an extra 45 minutes to one hour of sleep every night (4).
Solution: If you are too stressed, note down your feelings in a book and try finding solutions. For example, if you are nervous about the delivery, you can sign up for a childbirth class which helps ease your mind. You should settle down before bedtime with soothing activities like having a cup of warm milk, a warm shower, listening to melodious music, or indulging in relaxation exercises.
Best Sleeping Positions During First Trimester:
How can you get that precious sleep while experiencing all the above issues that disrupt your sleep?
1. Sleeping On Side (SOS):
Lying on the side is far better than sleeping on your front or back. But the best sleeping position is on the left side. Sleeping on the right can develop pressure on the liver and your doctor will ask you to avoid that. Left would be the best position as it prevents the growing uterus from exerting pressure on the liver, allowing the fetus to get enough oxygen and nutrients via the placenta. It also improves blood circulation and reduces the energy spent in drawing the optimal blood flow for both mother and baby (5).
You can alternate your position to the right if you may not like sleeping on the left for a long time. You should feel free to alternate from one side to another, but make sure you do not sleep on the right for a long time.
Sleeping on one side with your knees bent is the most comfortable position.