PARENTS

Sleep During Pregnancy: How To Feel Relaxed And Rested

02/09/2017 02:40 EST | Updated 02/09/2017 02:46 EST

Anyone with a newborn will tell you to sleep before the baby arrives because once that little bundle of joy tiny ball of terror arrives you won't won't be able to get any zzz's.

But unfortunately for 78 per cent of women, pregnancy itself can be the start of restless nights. According to the National Sleep Foundation, changes in hormone levels is one of the main reasons for sleep changes in pregnant women. Other causes of discomfort include weight gain and belly growth, nausea, cramping, congestion, heartburn and the increased urge to urinate.

Some pregnant women may even experience insomnia closer to their due date as anxiety and labour fears begin to set in.

Poor sleep isn't just hard on women mentally, it can be bad for baby too. In 2004, researchers from the University of California found pregnant women who get less than six hours of sleep a night were more likely to require cesarean deliveries and tended to be in labour longer.

If you're having a hard time sleeping for two, try these tricks to improve your quality of sleep:

Take Naps

pregnant woman couch

Having a sleep plan is great, but being able to make adjustments is key. If you find yourself nodding off on Sunday afternoon, take advantage of it and sneak in a few extra zzz’s while you can.

Drink Water... During The Day

pregnant woman drinking water

While pregnant it is recommended that women up their fluid intake to 10 cups a day to reduce cramping. Don't drink this all at once, or right before bed, because if you do you'll be running to the bathroom all night.

Use Night Lights

bathroom night light

If frequent urination is keeping you up, use night lights or a dimmer switch to guide your path without shocking your eyes making it harder to fall back asleep.

Use Pillows

pregnant woman in bed pillows

Many doctors recommend women sleep on their left side to increase bloody flow to the uterus and kidneys. To make this more comfortable place a pillow between the knees to support the back. Extra pillows around the back and abdomen can help keep your posture in place while wedges and body pillows can keep stomach sleepers from rolling over on to their belly.

Exercise

pregnant woman exercise

Sticking to an exercise routine while pregnant isn't just good for your physical and mental health, it can also help you sleep. Just don't do any high intensity workouts before bed.

Take An Antacid

pregnant woman pill

Acid reflux, or GERD, is quite common in pregnant women, so talk to your doctor about taking antacids if heartburn is keeping you up.

If you wish to avoid medication, consider cutting back on spicy, acidic and fried foods.

Create A Nighttime Routine

pregnant woman milk

A glass of warm milk, a cycle of yoga or a hot shower can help calm nerves and induce sleep.

If your sleep deprivation is severe, talk to your doctor about creating a sleeping plan specifically for you.

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