The moment you find out you are pregnant it is likely that a thousand new thoughts go through your mind. Excitement, fear, and happiness are probably taking over! One thing you might not realize right away is that sleeping when pregnant is a completely different experience than what you are used to. There are comfort issues and safety issues to be aware of, on top of everything else going on in your body! If you need help learning the do’s and don’ts of sleeping pregnant, please read on!
Your Body Starts Changing Right Away
As soon as you become pregnant your body starts going through a series of subtle changes. By the time you know that you are expecting, it is likely that you will physically feel different. Your breasts may be sore and tender, making it hard for you to sleep on your belly. You may have mild to moderate nausea, which can make it hard to sleep at all. Insomnia is common in early pregnancy, and can be difficult to manage when you can’t take any medications to help.
During those first few weeks, your basal body temperature also starts to rise, and your body begins to produce more blood than normal. Both of these new developments often make it even more difficult to sleep like you used to.back to menu ↑
Old Habits Are No Longer Comfortable
If you are used to falling asleep on your belly or back, you may find that this position is no longer comfortable. It can be extremely hard to change up your own sleeping habits, even during pregnancy. One way to make a new sleep position more manageable when you are sleeping pregnant, is to obtain a quality pregnancy wedge or pillow. These devices will help you get into a better position, even if it doesn’t seem natural to you at first. The pillow will cradle your body, and provide efficient support that may make you feel like you are still in your old favorite sleeping position!back to menu ↑
Safety Issues Can Cause Problems
Beyond the problem of getting comfortable is the issue with resting safely when you are sleeping pregnant. If your body gets into a less than prime position while you are at rest, it can compromise blood flow to your placenta, heart, and extremities. This will often result in dizziness or shortness of breath. Most of the time, your body will naturally shift positions while you sleep. But when you are pregnant, it is nearly impossible to do so once your belly begins to expand.
To enjoy safe rest while sleeping pregnant, remember to stay on your left side. Use your pregnancy pillow to support your belly, neck, hips, and knees. The pillow will help align your body so that you aren’t shifting around and constantly trying to stay in position. Once you are comfortably supported on your left side, oxygen-rich blood will flow freely throughout your body, keeping you and baby safe and well nourished. Since your blood volume and heart rate have increased, this side-lying position will help with getting a good, solid night of rest when you are sleeping pregnant.back to menu ↑
Your Ideal Sleeping Environment Will Change
If you are finding it difficult to sleep even with your pregnancy pillow and safe positions, you may need to change up the room where you sleep. Make sure to keep the room as dark as possible. Pregnancy makes you more sensitive to light in general, and even the glow of a streetlight may make it harder for you to rest when sleeping pregnant. Dark, thick curtains can help solve this problem, and will help keep the room dark when baby arrives as well!
Temperature sensitivity is yet another issue that can pop up during pregnancy. Your body is often a few degrees warmer than usual, and the extra blood volume makes you feel hotter than ever. If you are used to sleeping snuggled up with a pile of blankets, now might be the time to rethink this strategy. Reduce the amount of blankets you typically use, and if you can, set the thermostat for a few degrees cooler than usual. Keeping the room under 72 degrees can really go a long way in helping you get the sleep that you need.back to menu ↑
Cramps, Kicks, and Cooking
Once you manage to get into a comfortable position for sleep, there are several things that can pop up and hinder your ability to rest through the night! Leg cramps are common for pregnant women, and often happen in the early morning hours. If you find yourself trying to manage cramping in the legs and feet, first make sure that your legs are well supported with your maternity pillow or pregnancy wedge. Then, be sure to keep a lot of magnesium and potassium in your diet. Both of these nutrients will help keep cramps at bay, allowing you to fully rest while sleeping pregnant.
A kicking baby can also keep you awake at night! While it is always a joy to feel those lovely little movements, when you are trying to sleep and baby wants to party, you might be feeling otherwise. If you find that kicks are keeping you awake, try going for a walk around the house to rhythmically soothe your baby back to sleep. Then snuggle up in bed and hope that you both sleep through the night.
If you are used to eating heavy or fried meals, you may notice that heartburn starts to become an issue, as early as the first trimester. Heartburn can keep you awake for hours, so it is imperative that you get it under control. After switching up your diet, you may notice that you still have a few nights of restless heartburn related pain. If that is the case, try using a pillow to help keep your body upright for rest. A U-shaped pregnancy pillow can really help you stay in this position until the heartburn is at bay.back to menu ↑
In the end, as long as you are able to get a nearly full night of sleep, your body and baby will thank you for it. Remember to stay on your left side, use a large pillow or wedge to help position your body, keep your room cool, and eat well. By practicing these simple rules, sleeping pregnant should be a restful and enjoyable experience for both you and baby! Hopefully you can once again enjoy a peaceful nights sleep. Be sure to check out our pregnancy pillow buyer’s guide if you do not already own one!