How To Sleep During First Trimester: 2 Important Positions

2. Sleeping On Back:

In the initial stages of pregnancy, you can choose to sleep on the back if you are used to that position. However, as the pregnancy advances, you should avoid lying flat on your back. It is because the growing uterus exerts pressure on your back muscles, spine, major blood vessels, which therefore alter the blood flow in your body and baby (6).

Sleeping on the back will also give you muscle pains, swelling, and hemorrhoids. The position can cause a drop in the blood pressure levels, which may lead to dizziness. For some women, it can cause an elevation in the blood pressure and may lead to snoring and eventually sleep apnea (shallows breaths while sleeping).

Sleeping on your back, in a half-sitting position by taking the support of a few pillows is just fine and help those suffering from heartburn.

The first trimester is the right time to get yourself adjusted to sleeping on your left side, which is the ideal position.

Does Lack Of Sleep Harm Your Baby?

It will not harm your baby as sleep problems are common during pregnancy. But, you should listen to your body when it asks you to rest or slow down. Less sleep in early pregnancy can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in mothers.

Sleeping Aids During Pregnancy:

Sleep aids help in offering you comfortable and sound sleep, especially during your first and third trimesters, which are tough times of pregnancy.

1. Pillows:

Pillows can help you avoid sleepless nights.

For back and belly support –Tuck one pillow between your bent knees to support your lower back. It will also make your side sleeping position comfortable. You can use a full-body pillow for your back or front. It gives you the right support while lying on your side.

You can try various pillows, either regularly used ones or those available specifically for pregnancy use. You may use body-length, U or C-shaped pillows, or wedge-shaped pillows to support your tummy or chest.

If you are suffering from heartburn – You can keep one extra pillow beneath your head to elevate it while you are sleeping. It helps in keeping the stomach acids in place due to gravity rather than letting them travel back to the esophagus.

If you have hip pain – If you experience body pains or hip pain while lying on the side, a firm mattress will help. An egg-crate foam mattress can be placed on your regular mattress. It will support your torso and limbs and give you comfortable sleep devoid of aching hips.

2. Food And Drink:

What you eat and drink, and when you take them will also affect your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine and sugar, which are the common sleep snatchers. A glass of warm milk before bedtime is an age-old remedy for good sleep.

For low blood sugar – If headaches, bad dreams, or intense sweating disturb your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar levels. You can take protein-packed snacks such as peanut butter, egg, or turkey, before bedtime to keep blood sugar levels high during sleep.

For Nausea – Nausea can develop because of an empty stomach. Therefore you should have a light snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before bedtime. Good options include – half sandwich with milk, high-protein cereal with milk, or a high protein smoothie. You can eat some bland, dry snacks like pretzels, rice cakes, and crackers if you happen to wake to feel nauseous.

For heartburn and indigestion – Avoid taking large meals before bedtime or late in the day. Sleeping on a full stomach will worsen the condition.

3. Scheduled Sleep:

Planning your sleep time is also vital during pregnancy. You should try taking naps whenever possible. The best time is between two and four p.m. You can break them into two 30-minute naps rather than one long 2-hour sleep. Do not take excessive fluids after six p.m. as they reduce nocturnal bathroom visits.

Relaxation Techniques For Better Pregnancy Sleep:

You can also try the following simple and time-tested techniques to relax your muscles, calm your mind, and sleep easily.

1. Yoga And Stretching:

They help you relax, tone your body and make it flexible throughout the pregnancy. There are many health clubs and gyms that provide yoga and stretching training for pregnant women.

You can also develop your regime that involves simple moves for neck and shoulders, back and waist calves and hamstrings. Doing them during the day and before going to bed will help you fall asleep quickly.

Caution – Give some time between the workout and sleep.

2. Deep Breathing:

Deep and rhythmic breathing will lower heart rate, ease muscle stress, and promote good sleep.

3. Massage:

Massage helps in relaxing the muscles that are prone to stress and thereby offering good sleep. You can also get a professional massage by discussing the option with your doctor before planning it. Another great way is to get a hand, foot, or neck massage from your partner.

4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

This is a simple relaxation technique that helps you sleep soundly. The main idea is to release the tightened muscles by tensing and relaxing them.

Lie on the bed or floor. Focus on one group of muscles, and try alternating between right and left sides. Firstly, tense and release hand and forearm muscles, followed by an upper arm, face and jaw, shoulder, back, thighs until you go to your feet.

5. Guided Imagery:

It calms your anxious mind and promotes a deep sleep.

Close your eyes and think of a beautiful and relaxing place. Or think of floating clouds along the water edge. Try imagining every minute detail such as smell, texture, color, sound, taste, etc. You have to picture yourself so that it engages your mind in a virtual world, and it diverts your attention from the thought of sleeplessness.

6. Exercise:

Performing regular exercises while you are pregnant can make you physically and mentally healthy. It promotes sound sleep as long as you do not over-do them.

Also, do not choose to exercise within four hours of sleep time. It will rev you up and disturb your sleep cycle. Instead, you can work up to sweat in the day and early evening.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can you sleep on your stomach in the first trimester?

As long as you are comfortable sleeping on your stomach, you are free to sleep so. However, you will find it impossible to sleep on stomach with the growing belly. This position is also known to cut off the blood supply to the fetus, and can lead to dizziness and nausea and hence it is best to avoid it.

2. How much should you sleep in the first trimester?

Adults usually require an average of seven to nine hours of complete sleep every night. But, with the demands of pregnancy on a woman’s body, you may need more sleep during the first trimester. The sleeping hours may vary from woman to woman. However, you should listen to your body and give it rest when needed to subside sleep disturbances.

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