If you ask a pregnant woman how much sleep does she require, she will probably say that she wants to take a nap right there and then. Pregnancy can leave a mother exhausted at the end of the day as if she had returned after running a marathon.
It is not just the physical discomforts that are bothersome, the cascading emotions during pregnancy could drain her emotionally too. Feeling fatigue comes as a surprise to women who are first-time moms. This drowsiness is often and lethargy can be attributed to the pregnancy hormone progesterone, the same hormone that keeps the pregnancy going.
Most women experience it during the first trimester. Your body is working hard to help the little baby inside you grow and develop—the uterus is expanding while your body forms an altogether new organ called placenta to support your little one. That’s a lot of hard work going on the inside.
How Much Sleep Do Pregnant Women Need?
Since sleep disruptions are common during pregnancy, it is important that the mother should go to bed early and sleep for longer during than usual. Sleep or at least stay in bed for eight hours—this will give you a minimum of six to seven hours of quality sleep. Sleep deprivation can make you feel exhausted and irritable throughout the day.
You could make up for the lost sleep by taking small naps during the daytime—listen to your body and take rest whenever you possibly can.
During The First Trimester
While you are still gearing up for the coming days, so is your body. The hormone progesterone tends to make your bladder sluggish, which increases the number of times you have to wake up in the night to go to the bathroom.
You need not reduce your water or fluid intake. Keep yourself hydrated as this will prevent the risk of severe constipation and swelling—the two most common symptoms of pregnancy. What you can do is cut down on the glasses of water you drink towards the evening or before you sleep. Prefer fixing a night light, which isn’t too bright to wake you up the moment you enter the toilet.
For a good sleep, keep all the noisy elements out of the bedroom which includes the television, speakers or even a snoring partner.
During The Second Trimester
The pregnancy hormones level down during the second trimester. Consecutively, the laziness and tiredness that you experience go away temporarily until the third trimester.
However, leg cramps and restless leg syndrome might bother you during the evening hours, especially if you are anemic. Only 20% of pregnant women experience the symptoms of restless leg syndrome where it feels that there are ants constantly crawling up and down your inside your legs. The only relief is walking around a bit—it can be difficult falling back to sleep later. Include iron and folate in your diet to help with the condition.
Some women also experience acid reflux and heartburn around this time. This is because your uterus is expanding pushing your stomach in an already cramped space. Another reason women are asked to sleep on their left side is to prevent this burning sensation. You could also try keeping your head elevated by using more pillows under your head.
During The Third Trimester
In the third trimester, mothers are strictly advised not to sleep on their back. The belly size can make it difficult for mothers to fall asleep.
Moms also find themselves to be waking up 3-5 times at night to urinate. Lower backache is another thing that makes it difficult for women to sleep. Pregnant women are advised to prefer the left side while sleeping. They could also use pillows to support their belly, legs, and back.
Due to the growing uterus, sleeping on the back could put pressure on the nerves and major blood vessel (vena cava) in the mother’s body.
Sleeping is precious and you need it even more during pregnancy to remain sane. However, avoid any over-the-counter medication if you are deprived of sleep. Consult your doctor for advice.