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5 ways pregnancy changes your sleep

5 ways pregnancy changes your sleep

You know sleep is crucial to good health, and this is especially true during pregnancy. You’ll likely be more tired than usual as your body works overtime to nourish your growing baby, and you’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night.

But many pregnant women find that when they lie down to sleep, they simply can’t get the rest they need. As if the excitement and anticipation of childbirth weren’t enough to disrupt your sleep, you may find that various physical and hormonal changes are wreaking havoc on your zzz’s. Here are some common ways your sleep may change during pregnancy, and what you can do:

  1. You’ve started snoring. Snoring is often caused by hormonal changes and increased blood flow that cause your nasal passages to swell. If you or your partner notice this problem, make sure you’re not sleeping on your back. You may wish to elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up with pillows. If congestion is an issue, try a saline nasal spray or a humidifier in your room.
  2. You can’t get comfortable. Your back may hurt, your legs and feet are sore, and you can’t seem to find a position that works with your growing belly. These issues make it difficult for many pregnant women to sleep well. Try using pillows to prop yourself up  or placed under your belly. when lying on your side, and between your knees to relieve hip and back pain. You may have to experiment to find out what works. Sometimes sleeping in a recliner instead of the bed can help.
  3. You have digestive issues. Nausea, heartburn, bloating, and constipation can make it very hard to sleep. Talk with your obstetrician about these issues if they’re keeping you up. Severe nausea should be addressed with your physician. Heartburn, bloating, and constipation can sometimes be relieved with diet and lifestyle changes, such as eating more fiber, drinking more water, and not eating right before bedtime.
  4. You have to use the bathroom frequently. It’s rare to find a pregnant woman who can go all night without the need to urinate. The increased blood in your body, combined with any extra fluid you might be retaining, likes to make its way out through the bladder at night. Later in pregnancy, your bladder will be cramped for space, adding to the problem. The best thing you can do is make sure you urinate before bed and get plenty of fluids during the day so you’re not thirsty at bedtime.
  5. Your dreams are more vivid. Crazy pregnancy dreams are no myth. Many pregnant women find that emotional changes make them more likely to have strange dreams. Pair this with more frequent sleep interruptions (mainly due to the problems above), and you’re more likely to wake during a dream and remember it more clearly.

Sleeping during pregnancy can be a challenge. If you’re consistently getting poor sleep, talk with your obstetrician about the issue. There may be a solution to whatever is keeping you up. Take heart in knowing most of these sleep issues are only temporary, and there will come a time when you will once again sleep normally.

CarePoint Health Family Birth Centers

CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. To learn more about caring for yourself and your baby during pregnancy, view our list of upcoming classes.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.


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