It’s notoriously challenging to get anything resembling a decent night’s sleep when you’re pregnant. It’s even harder to do so after you’ve given birth to a squirmy little newborn who wakes up to drink every couple of hours. It’s a given that you’ll face some interrupted sleep patterns throughout your pregnancy and the early months of motherhood; however, there are some things you can do to make the transition to parenthood easier. Consider the following 4 tips for sleeping better during pregnancy:
1. Make Strategic Use of Pillows
To achieve maximum comfort, consider sleeping on your side and supporting your baby bump with a soft pillow. Then use another pillow between your knees. You could get a specially-designed pregnancy pillow for this purpose, but that isn’t a strict necessity. A long body pillow is also a good choice to use for giving yourself this type of support.
2. Begin Each Night Before Childbirth Resting on Your Left Side
To reduce your baby’s risk of stillbirth, it’s ideal if you could make an attempt to sleep on your left side at night. This becomes particularly important as your due date draws near.
If you don’t already have an intimate knowledge of female internal anatomy, it probably seems puzzling that it should matter which side of your body you sleep on. The reason this makes a difference: You have a critically important vein, referred to as the inferior vena cava (IVC), situated on the right side of your body. Sleeping on your left side is ideal for allowing the free-flow of blood through this vein. Lying on your back could create an issue where the weight of your growing infant compresses this vein, which could potentially impede the flow of blood through the IVC. This could result in a risk of reduced blood pressure for you, which could also lead to a loss of blood-oxygen for both you and your baby.
Researchers have attempted to understand whether there’s a relationship between how pregnant women sleep and whether the baby ends up stillborn. Their research suggests that sleeping on your back appears to correlate with a significantly increased risk for stillbirth.
3. Embrace Frequent Trips to the Bathroom
OK, this isn’t really a tip for getting better sleep; but it’s something you’ll almost definitely have to deal with when you’re trying to sleep. During pregnancy, you’re going to have to use the bathroom more frequently than you’re used to. Embrace it. First of all, you have to stay hydrated, and using the bathroom afterwards is an inevitable consequence of that.
Furthermore, getting up and moving around at night decreases your risk for experiencing a stillbirth, according to multiple studies. Late in pregnancy, long periods of undisturbed sleep correlate with a greater risk for having a stillborn baby. (Who knew undisturbed sleep could ever turn out to be a bad thing?)
If you’ve been annoyed by interrupted sleep resulting from frequent urges to use the bathroom, you can always just console yourself that at least your late-night movements could be helping you to avoid a stillbirth tragedy.
4. Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine can make it difficult for you to get to sleep. Not only that, caffeine consumption appears to increase your risk of having a miscarriage or stillbirth. Even if it’s hard for you to give up caffeine, in this case it’s worth making the effort.
Yes, You Will Sleep Again! (Someday…)
If you aren’t sleeping well during your pregnancy, you’re not alone; it’s perfectly normal to experience interrupted sleep or reduced sleep quality when you’re pregnant. However, it is certainly possible to get a good night’s sleep at this exciting time in your life. These tips can help you to sleep better and improve your odds of enjoying a successful pregnancy. Definitely do what you can to get good sleep now, because it gets even more challenging to achieve restful sleep after you give birth.