New parents know that sleep is hard to come by in the first weeks with a newborn. But pregnant women also suffer lack of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says that hormonal changes, heartburn, having to use the bathroom more frequently or worries about giving birth all contribute to insomnia during pregnancy. The NSF offers these tips to help you get your ZZZZs.
1. In the third trimester, sleep on your left side to allow for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. Avoid lying flat on your back for a long period of time
2. Drink lots of fluids during the day, but cut down before bedtime.
3. To prevent heartburn, do not eat large amounts of spicy, acidic (such as tomato products), or fried foods. If heartburn is a problem, sleep with your head elevated on pillows.
4. Exercise regularly to help you stay healthy, improve your circulation, and reduce leg cramps.
5. Try frequent bland snacks (like crackers) throughout the day to help avoid nausea by keeping your stomach full.
6. Special “pregnancy” pillows and mattresses may help you sleep better. Or use regular pillows to support your body.
7. Try napping. An NSF poll found that 51% of pregnant or recently pregnant women reported at least one weekday nap; 60% reported at least one weekend nap.
8. Learn to relax. Relaxation and breathing techniques can help now, and when contractions begin. A warm bath or shower before bed can be helpful.
9. Talk to your doctor if you develop medical problems and/or insomnia persists.