Your body is going through a lot — so rest is more important than ever. Several lifestyle adjustments can help you power down, but the most important thing is to listen to your body and take breaks as often as you need them.
During pregnancy, you may have trouble falling or staying asleep. In the early months, this may be part of your body’s adjustment to pregnancy. During the last few months, your increased size, the baby’s kicking and increased pressure on your bladder may wake you up often during the night.
Try these shut-eye strategies:
- Exercise daily.
- Take a warm, relaxing bath before bed.
- Drink hot water with lemon or warm milk, or eat a few crackers or a piece of toast with milk, before going to bed.
- Reduce any noise or lighting that might keep you awake.
- Avoid eating a big meal within two hours of going to bed.
- Do childbirth preparation exercises, such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques.
- Experiment to find the most comfortable sleeping positions. Lie on your side and place several pillows between your knees.
- Read a novel or other book of interest.
- Get a massage.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Try to develop a regular sleeping schedule and routine.
- Plan for naps or short rests during the day.
- Avoid all sleeping medications. There are no safe medications to relieve sleeping difficulties during pregnancy.
If you just can’t sleep through the night, relax and don’t worry. Hormones cause sleeping changes in late pregnancy, so you may sleep for only two to three hours at a time, which is normal.
Starting in the 20th week of pregnancy, avoid sleeping on your back. The combined weight of your uterus and baby compress the major vessels which supply blood to the placenta and could decrease oxygen flowing to your baby.
During the early months, natural hormonal changes cause fatigue. During the last month or two, you’ll get tired from carrying the extra weight of the baby. Fatigue is an important sign from your body that you need extra rest. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself!
Here’s how to deal with fatigue:
- Accept the fact that you need extra rest and pace your daily life accordingly.
- Take naps when you feel tired. Sit down and put your feet up.
- Try a rest break instead of a coffee break. Caffeine and other stimulants may increase fatigue and be harmful.
- Eat small, well-balanced meals several times a day.
- Exercise regularly. This will make you less, not more, tired.
- Avoid taking on extra responsibilities during this time in your life.
- Be sure to consume enough calories, iron and folic acid.
- Avoid all medications for fatigue. There are no safe medicines you can take for fatigue during pregnancy.
If the above suggestions don’t work, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.