Importance of Sleep During Pregnancy: What To Know

(Last Updated On: June 28, 2019)

Sleep is an immensely important activity in our lives. It is a time for our body to repair and hone itself for the next day. The importance of Sleep during pregnancy is all the more essential since our bodies are so busy growing a human being! The mother’s health is crucial too.

Related: These pregnancy pillows really helped me!

Importance of sleep during pregnancy

Now that we’ve established that sleep is immensely important, you may be wondering, “How much sleep do you need when pregnant?”

At a minimum, a pregnant woman should get at least six hours of sleep per day. However, if possible, you should strive to get at least seven to nine hour of sleep.

This is important because disrupted sleep can actually reduce the possibility of a normal birth by up to four to five times.

Even the body’s natural responses are aware of this, as the body releases the progesterone hormone to increase sleepiness and fatigue during the first trimester to increase sleep. The sleep will also help you recover from muscle fatigue and tiredness in general.

Link Between Depression, Sleep and Your Pregnancy

Women can become depressed during their pregnancy and this can be affected by sleep as well. Past research has found that sleep and depression are correlated, with disrupted sleep contributing to depression and depression interfering with an individual’s sleep.

This correlation is significant because poor sleep and depression were associated with an increased risk for birth complications. Whether separately and together.

Sleep is important because it keeps a pregnant mother’s immune health in good shape and helps reduce inflammation in the body. These are just some of the benefits of sleep while pregnant.

Sleep During the Trimesters

First Trimester

In the first trimester, your body experiences many changes, emotionally and physically. You will find yourself urinating more often, feel more achy and experience morning sickness.

To counter these problems, you can make some sleep adjustments to counter these changes. You should schedule nap times during the day and eat some bland snacks to fight nausea.

At night, closer to the time right before sleeping, you should drink fewer fluids to combat nausea as well.

Second Trimester

In the second trimester, you might feel like your energy has returned, but you must not neglect sleep. You should still get adequate sleep since you could still easily fatigue yourself in this stage.

In this stage, while sleeping, you might find that your dreams are more vivid than usual since your anxiety levels are higher during this time.

Third Trimester

Finally, in your third trimester, sleep is immensely important. Your body is very tired with baby on the way.

Unfortunately, this trimester is usually one of the most difficult times to sleep. Especially since your baby is very active and you generally feel uncomfortable. This makes it difficult for you to reap the benefits of rest during pregnancy.

In this trimester, you tend to urinate frequently, so you should not drink fluids so close to bedtime so that you don’t wake up to use the restroom as frequently.

Additionally, you will find that you tend to snore more often in this trimester. Hence, to improve sleep quality, you should also try to sleep on your left side or on your back with your tummy propped up.

You may also choose to use special pregnancy pillows which can improve your sleep quality.

Things That Can Cause Sleep Difficulties in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, women generally find it more difficult to get good sleep. In fact, 78% of women reported experiencing more disrupted sleep during their pregnancies in a National Sleep Foundation poll.

Specifically, there are a few reasons that make sleep more difficult during pregnancy.

Pain and Discomfort

When you are pregnant, you often yourself with lower back pain, pelvic pain, heartburn, and nausea. Because these physical discomforts can make you uncomfortable, they can also affect your sleep.

Changes in Hormone Levels

As mentioned earlier, since hormone levels are ever-changing in a pregnant woman, the sleep cycles follow suit and are changed, which can cause sleep disruption. Pregnancy causes an increase in progesterone levels which can cause respiratory changes that disrupt one’s sleep.

This hormonal change also make women more sleepy during the day and more wakeful at night. The fluctuating levels of estrogen can also cause physiological changes that also cause sleep disruptions.

Feelings of Anxiety

Many pregnant women feel anxious about the pregnancy and many other aspects related to it. This anxiety can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult, which leads to sleep deficiency.

Some Ways to Adjust and Cope

In order to get the most out of the benefits of sleep while pregnant, you must find some ways to help yourself get the sleep you need. For a start, you should plan and schedule your sleep. You should keep it a priority in your life.

You may also try exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. As mentioned earlier, urination becomes more frequent in pregnancy due to the fetus. Hence, you should try to drink more fluids in the day and reduce the amount of fluids closer to the hours near bedtime.

If you are tired, you should still take daytime naps. This helps you reap even more benefits of rest during pregnancy, but if this impedes on your sleep at night, you should try to avoid them.

For your incoming baby, you should try to sleep on your left side because this helps improve blood flow and nutrients to the fetus.

This position will also take pressure off your lower back during your sleep.

Excessive Sleeping During Pregnancy

Sleeping too much during pregnancy? There is generally more concern for not enough sleep.

There’s a study conducted that says if you don’t get enough rest and sleep in the first trimester, it might be almost 10 times more possible for you to have preeclampsia later on in your pregnancy.

Preeclampsia is linked with high blood pressure, the existence of protein in your urine.

Too much sleep in the first trimester can up your risk for preeclampsia. Too much sleep is defined as more than 10 hours each night. You might up your likelihood of getting preeclampsia by two times.

Conclusion

Sleep is immensely important for all pregnant women. It can help the pregnant woman recover from fatigue and it ensures the wellbeing of the fetus as well.

Although sleep may be more difficult to achieve during pregnancy, you should try your best to create schedules and methods that will help you obtain that much needed, important sleep! Now…instead of wondering how much sleep do you need when pregnant, go get some sleep!

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