How does pregnancy affect sleep?
When you become pregnant, you know that sleep is no longer something you can take for granted. Once you have a child, you probably won’t sleep through a full night until they become lazy teenagers, and even then you’ll be waiting up until their curfew when they walk through the door. A good nights’ sleep is one of the many sacrifices parents make for their children. Whether they’re less than a year old and crying every hour from the nursery, or more than 30-years old and calling you from their apartment, your sleep will be interrupted. However, during pregnancy, sleep is also a thing of the past. Of course, when you have a belly the size of a watermelon, it is more difficult to sleep than before you underwent such changes.
According to a recent study though, insomnia in pregnant women actually goes beyond the usual causes. The first common cause of insomnia during pregnancy is the elevated levels of progesterone. In addition to getting the body prepared for childbirth, progesterone makes sleeping through the night difficult. Next, the frequent bathroom visits you’ll need are another reason that insomnia could come on during your pregnancy. When your baby is pushing up against your organs, specifically your bladder, you’ll need to relieve yourself. Another reason that women have trouble sleeping when they’re pregnant is simply the ill-feeling that they are faced with. Most pregnant women, especially those who are late in the pregnancy, experience serious nausea and vomiting. Obviously, if you are comfortable in your bed, the feeling of nausea caused by your pregnancy is enough to get you up and on your feet.
Managing insomnia during pregnancy
Even if you experience many false alarms, it is better to be prepared every time. No matter what your insomnia is caused by, it is important that you try getting rid of it as early as possible. If it is caused by nausea and vomiting, try taking a medication. If it is caused by elevated pressure from the baby on the uterus, ask a doctor to shift him or her around slightly. When a mother can sleep soundly through the night, it means that her levels of stress will be greatly decreased, which will in turn allow her to care for her baby more attentively. Since insomnia can have many negative side effects even outside of birth, it is important to ease it either way.
Source: Aynur Kızılırmak et al: Insomnia in Pregnancy and Factors Related to Insomnia. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health 2012