Sleep well while expecting: Help for pregnant women

August 27, 2013 12:00 AM by

Sleepless nights are totally normal when you're getting ready for baby, but at some point, you're going to need to catch some Zs for your health and the health of your unborn child. Expecting first time mothers are most likely to experience the most sleep problems in the third trimester, but don't be surprised if they occur earlier. Fortunately, there are some tricks to help you drift off more easily when pregnant!

Drinking
One of the biggest factors that will keep you up at night is the frequent need to use the restroom. As your baby shifts position and grows, he or she puts more pressure on your bladder and increases the amount of times you need to urinate. This will likely be a problem no matter what, but you might be able to alleviate some of that urgency around bedtime by decreasing the amount of liquids you drink as it gets later in the day. That isn't to say that you should drink less – just try to concentrate most of the beverages that you drink early in the morning and afternoon before tapering off. 

Relaxation
Pregnancy is wonderful, but it can also be stressful. You're undoubtedly worrying about a long list of items: your baby's health, the number of things you need to do before the impending delivery date and the delivery itself. Taking a class on breathing techniques can help you remain calm as the due date approaches, and will expose you to a plethora of other resources, like other expecting moms and trained professionals, to help you ease your worried mind. 

Exercise 
Regular exercise is great for helping anyone sleep better, especially pregnant women. Expecting moms should stick to low-impact exercises that are easy on their joints and allow them to breathe regularly. Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape when pregnant – it's relaxing while still acting as a full-body workout. Prenatal yoga is another means of staying in shape while pregnant, and will usually come with the same benefits as a class on breathing techniques. In fact, most prenatal yoga classes focus on breathing before actually engaging in stretches, poses and other exercises. Talk to your physician before beginning a workout routine. 

Sleeping habits
Many physicians recommend getting in the habit of lying on your left side early on in your pregnancy, as this is a good position to be in as your belly grows. This is because it helps the flow of nutrients reach the uterus and takes the pressure of your uterus off of your liver, which is located on the right side of your body. 

Other, more typical sleeping habits are also encouraged. These include sticking to a standard bedtime and pre-sleep routine, avoiding the use of electronics in bed and using your bedroom only for sleep and other relaxing activities. While these tips are applicable to people who aren't expecting, they can also help individuals who are. 

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