The common sleep disturbance agents in the first trimester may include back pain and history of insomnia. In the third trimester, progesterone’s effect on smooth muscle is known to cause a pregnant woman to start experiencing urinary frequency in the first trimester, before even the uterus starts pressing on the bladder. The discomfort along with the resultant sleeping disturbance is attributed to the large uterus pressing on the bladder to reduce capacity and increase urinary frequency in the third trimester. High frequency urinary constantly disturbs sleep as the woman seeks to empty the bladder. Another associated problem that is common and should not be ignored is sleep disordered breathing.
An increased need to sleep is common in the first few weeks, after which the problem disappears. However, during the future stages of pregnancy, it might be significantly difficult to get off sleep or stay asleep, due to backache and leg cramps as the baby grows. Periodic limb movements along with sleep related breathing problems may take place or worsen during pregnancy. Anxiety about being pregnant and the upcoming motherhood may also affect sleep and may end up producing frightening dreams. You should know that your doctor will need to know whether or not the sleep problems are new and they can be linked with your pregnancy or if they are pre-existing and they are worsened by your pregnancy.
The most common reasons known for disturbed sleep rely upon the trimester. To begin with, in the first trimester, a pregnant woman would complain of nausea and vomiting, feeling uncomfortable and fatigued, and backaches. In the second trimester and in association with the third trimester, she would complain of abdominal discomfort, urinary frequency, restless legs, shortness of breath, and heartburn. Apart from physical discomfort, a pregnant woman would report emotional concerns associated with dreams about the fetus as well as anxiety over the change in lifestyle. Early on in pregnancy, pregnant women are known to become sleepier, and their night sleep may become distorted. However, as the pregnancy grows sleep becomes more fragmented.
Managing Sleep Problems during Pregnancy: You can manage your sleeping problems by: limiting your consumption of caffeine; exercising regularly for at least 20 to 30 minutes, five days a week; consuming a mug of milk or a cup of herbal tea before retiring to bed; practicing good sleep hygiene; maintaining your sleeping area at a comfortable sleeping temperature; skipping late evening snacks; not consuming large amounts of liquids within two hours of bedtime in order to avoid the rush-outs to the washroom during the night; taking your time to relax in addition to unwind before engaging your bed, such as listening to soothing music and taking a warm bath; and surrounding yourself with comforting pillows. You should know that eating and retiring to bed at the same time may keep you awake, due to the boosted metabolism. Sleeping pillows are so far the best tools for relaxation during pregnancy. All you need to do is tuck one under your belly and one between your legs when you are sleeping on your side to reduce hip and back soreness.
As much as you may not want to be affected by pregnancy sleeping problems; the bitter truth is that these are part and parcel of any pregnant woman. The many changes that prevail from the first trimester to the last one are the very causes and catalysts of sleeping problems during pregnancy. The best way to ensure that you are able to manage the problems is by adhering with above stated ways of curbing the problems. Visits to your physician are highly encouraged, especially when you are faced with a pre-existing sleeping problem.