You’re tired. You also have a bit of heartburn. Your back hurts, your legs are cramping. Maybe you feel restless, anxious about the future, overwhelmed with so many things going on at once. You might feel short of breath, and find it hard to get comfortable. And then, as you finally start to drift off, you get that uncomfortably-full feeling in your bladder and up we go to the bathroom yet again!
In your first trimester, you’ll find that you feel extra sleepy all the time, which is brought on by high levels of progesterone. Your second trimester might bring a period of peaceful sleep, but don’t get to used to it because when the third trimester comes along, with that beautiful belly getting bigger every day, sleep may seem like a distant memory.
You’re exhausted, but you can’t sleep! Help!
Lying on your side with your knees tucked in is likely to be the most comfortable position. It also take some stress off your heart, because it keeps the baby’s weight off of the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs. Also, if you sleep on your left side, it helps take the pressure of your uterus off your liver. It also helps with digestion and improves circulation to the heart, fetus, uterus, and kidneys.
Some women feel more comfortable with a pillow under their tummy, between their legs, or at the small of your back may help to relieve some pressure. This is something you’ll have to experiment with a bit, and maybe try one of the various “pregnancy pillows” on the market.
Watch what and when you eat:
Take it easy on the caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee, and tea. If you can’t give up your caffeine, try to restrict it to earlier part of the day.
You need to get plenty of fluid and nutrition during the day, but try to avoid eating and drinking a lot within a few hours of bedtime. Eat larger meals for breakfast and lunch, and a smaller meal at dinner. If you’re bothered by nausea, a few crackers before you go to sleep may do the trick.
Relief for Heartburn:
The first step is to avoid foods that trigger heartburn. Some common culprits are carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, vinegar, mint products, processed meats, and any foods that are spicy, highly seasoned, fried, or fatty. Again, eat small, frequent meals, and chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Don’t eat for a few hours before bedtime. Elevating your head and upper body may help keep stomach acids where they belong.
Create an inviting sleep environment:
If you can get into a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, it will help you fall asleep at night. Try to do something relaxing just before you get into bed, like taking a warm bath, drinking something soothing, like tea with honey, or ask your partner for a little foot massage. Exercising during the day may help your body release pent up energy which will help you sleep at night, but don’t exercise right before bedtime.
No one can sleep through a leg cramp! To make it go away, try pressing your feet hard against the wall or to stand on the leg. Also, make sure that you’re getting enough calcium in your diet, which can help reduce leg cramps.
If your days are always spent on the go, consider a prenatal yoga class or some other relaxation exercise to help you unwind. If you are worried about the birth or how you will cope with a new baby, a childbirth or parenting class will help you feel more confident about the future. Knowledge, and the company of other women in a similar position, may be comforting and help you sleep better at night.
Regardless of everything you do, there are times when you just can’t sleep. In these cases, short naps during the day can be a life-saver. Instead of tossing and turning, get up and do something: read a book, catch up on letters or email, put in a load of laundry, wash the dishes. Eventually, you’ll probably feel tired enough to get back to sleep. Then, you’ll have cleared up some space the next day for a nice hour’s nap!