If you read My Pregnancy Journey you probably read about how I had been sleeping just fine up until week 33. Well, those days are most definitely OVER! For the past couple of weeks, a good night’s sleep has been a distant memory. Not only am I waking up many times during the night to go to the bathroom (only to have the teeniest little tinkle), once I am awake I can’t seem to get comfortable enough to fall back asleep. If that’s not the issue, then my insane heartburn kicks in and prevents me from falling asleep. I end up tossing and turning for hours before, either finally falling back asleep or giving up altogether!
Silly me, I thought the sleepless nights would come AFTER the baby is born! I had no idea they would come BEFORE! It’s pretty daunting to feel as though I will never ever get a good night sleep ever again! I know I am probably being a little bit dramatic but that’s the exhaustion talking.
Poor Daniel is suffering right along with me. Every time I toss or turn I wake him up and when I do finally fall asleep I end up snoring like mad (according to him) which keeps him up even longer!
This pregnancy restlessness is really starting to take its toll on both of us. Daniel is working on his Masters Thesis (hopefully he will finish up soon!!) so he really needs a good solid night of sleep in order to focus on his work during the day! I’m not working anymore so I don’t really need to be alert for any reason in particular, but I feel exhausted all day long but can’t seem to sleep during the night. I am trying to resist the urge to take naps during the day so I don’t mess up my night sleep even further! Sometimes though, it’s just too hard to resist.
I’ve taken to our best friend Google to research some common pregnancy sleep problems and how to solve them. It seems like many of my fellow future mommies are having some of the same problems as I am!
Note: websites like BabyCenter and What to Expect are extremely helpful for pregnant ladies. I find a lot of valuable information on these sites.
Some common pregnancy sleep problems include:
1. Trouble getting comfortable
This speaks for itself. You have a belly the size of a watermelon, your back hurts, your hips or pelvis may be in pain due to hormones allowing them to relax and widen, and many other pregnancy related aches and pains. On top of all that the baby seems to start playing soccer in your belly just as you want to hit the sack! It’s no wonder we can’t get comfortable!! I use about three pillows, one for my head, one in between my legs, and one under my belly. Some women also find comfort in putting a pillow behind their back for even more support. Or many women find comfort in a special pregnancy pillow, like the Leachco Snoogle, designed to keep you comfortable with your growing belly!
2. Frequent need to use the bathroom
This one I am very familiar with! I have to pee all the time and my urge wakes me up many times during the night! This is due to the baby being engaged and constricting my bladder which is totally normal during this stage of pregnancy. Babycenter.com suggests slowly decreasing a number of fluids consumed later in the day. This means drinking our 8 glasses of water earlier in the day and limiting your intake as the evening comes closer. I try not to drink too much during my dinner and avoid drinking fluids completely in the hours before bedtime. It has seemed to cut down on my nighttime bathroom trips, but I still end up with a couple (even though they are tiny!)
I’m also very familiar with this one! My pregnancy heartburn has kicked in at full force the past couple of weeks. This is due to both the baby kick and restricting your stomach and also the hormone progesterone (are you familiar with this one? It’s a biggie!) relaxes the muscles of the esophagus which in turn relaxes the valve between the stomach which in turn, you guessed it, leads to heartburn! I have learned that there are many things you can do to prevent (or try to decrease the intensity of) heartburn! Try eating slowly and avoid eating too much. Avoid eating foods that make heartburn worse; spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and fried or fatty foods. Also, avoid drinking while eating as this may agitate it even further. Another thing you could try is to prop your upper body up with pillows at night or put bed risers under the head of your bed. Also, be sure to avoid eating or drinking too close to bedtime! If you feel like a little bedtime tea you could try this Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Heartburn Tea! Not only does it have ingredients that help calm heartburn, it also has chamomile to help ease you to sleep and red raspberry leaf to help encourage labor! (Have you read 11 Ways to Induce Labor, Naturally!?)
4. Leg Cramps
So you have finally fallen asleep after tossing and turning and adjusting your pillows a thousand times, and BOOM you wake up to a charlie horse that you just can’t fight! Has this ever happened to you? Although I have been fortunate enough to avoid too many intense leg cramps it does happen time to time and it is not a fun experience. According to Daniel, I have even yelled about leg cramps in my sleep without actually waking up! But if you are one of these mommies who suffers from painful leg cramps you are certainly not alone. Your leg muscles are just a little tired out from carrying around all of your extra weight. They can also be explained by your increase of blood and the pressure that puts on your blood vessels. Regardless of the cause, there is something you can do about it. Try doing some light leg stretches before bedtime. Or you can try taking a warm bath or warm shower to try to relax those muscles. Wear comfortable shoes during the day, and try to take regular walks to get your blood flowing! Also, make sure you are still taking your prenatal vitamin so you are not deficient in any nutrients that could cause leg cramps 😉
Another common sleep problem is hunger. Have you ever woken up to a grumbling stomach? As your appetite increases during your second and third trimesters it might be hard keep your tummy full throughout the night. When I first entered into my third trimester I felt like I was hungry all the time! I would wake up feeling nauseous and after lying there trying to figure out what I was feeling I realized I was just a little hungry! I would go get myself a midnight snack and fall right back to sleep (unless of course, that pregnancy heartburn would kick in!) In order to avoid this, don’t go to bed hungry! Also try to eat foods that will keep you full longer. Eat whole grains, protein, and vegetables, instead of processed foods and sugars! In the middle of the night grab a bowl of cottage cheese, fresh fruit, or whole grain toast. If you suffer from heartburn, however, this may not be the best idea. Instead focus on eating filling foods throughout the day so you don’t end up starving in the middle of the night.Having Trouble Sleeping? Check out these common pregnancy sleep problems! #pregnancy #sleep Click To Tweet
So, I have always been a little bit of a snorer. But since becoming pregnant I have become a booming snoring machine! Although this doesn’t affect me as much as it affects Daniel it’s still an annoying sleep problem. Daniel often wakes me up and has me turn around so I stop snoring so loudly! This pesky sleep symptom is caused by our friendly pregnancy hormones! Higher estrogen swells your nasal passages and your increased blood supply sure doesn’t help either. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot that can be done about pregnancy snoring. You can try elevating your head a little bit or sleeping on your side (which you should try doing anyway!) Also, the more weight you gain during pregnancy, the worse your snoring may become!
Many of us moms-to-be feel some anxiety over our pregnancies and what the future holds. This anxiety can certainly be keeping you up at night! It’s totally normal to feel some anxiety throughout your pregnancy. I have had my fair share of sleepless nights laying awake in bed worrying about all the changes that are going to come, being a good mother, etc. The best thing to do is try to relax and realize everything is going to be okay! If you are having a lot of anxiety or feeling depressed seek help. Talk to your care provider about what you can do, there are many options and this should be taken seriously!
I know this was a lot of information to take in, but hopefully, it will help some of you get a better night’s sleep! Although this list doesn’t cover every single sleep problem you may be experiencing, it does cover the most common! I really hope this helps some of you sleep just a little bit better =)
Let me know how your sleeping goes!! Sweet dreams! <3