Being able to nourish and help bring a new life in this world is one of the greatest blessings of all.
Pregnancy is one of the most fascinating and endearing periods in a woman’s life, where she gets to cater to her growing child for nine long months in her womb.
During that time, she not only forms an emotional connection with her child but is also responsible for taking care of the health and nourishment of her child.
Sleep disorders during pregnancy are common. Overexertion or lack of sleep during pregnancy can result in multiple complications, for not only the child but to the mother as well.
It is crucial for pregnant women to ensure that they get enough nutrients and sleep, to guarantee the safety and health of their child.
The importance of sleep during pregnancy cannot be overlooked when mapping out the necessary measures to keep the mother and baby safe and healthy during pregnancy.
In this article, we will explore the importance of sleep during pregnancy, the factors that cause sleep problems for Pregnant women followed by the complications arising because of lack of enough sleep and possible solutions and measures, on the part of a pregnant female.
Table of Contents
- Why Is It Important To Get Sufficient Sleep During Pregnancy?
- Factors Causing Disturbance In Sleep During Pregnancy
- Methods To Cope-Up With The Disturbed Sleep During Pregnancy
Why Is It Important To Get Sufficient Sleep During Pregnancy?
The first trimester, lasting for about 12 weeks from the time of conception, is one of the most critical and crucial time for pregnant women when their bodies are undergoing hormonal change to prepare the body for nourishing and carrying the baby for the coming nine months.
The next straining period occurs during the third trimester when the physical growth of the developing individuals adds into the physical stress and extreme fatigue on the part of the mother.
Females during their first trimester are likely to feel extreme exhaustion, fatigue, and overwhelming tiredness, pushing their bodies to get more sleep than usual.
Lowered blood sugar and blood pressure level may also contribute to increased fatigue and sleep.
A regular seven to nine hours of sleep with frequent short naps throughout the day is highly recommended for pregnant females, especially during the first trimester.
For pregnant females, the amount of sleep they get not only determines the health of their baby but impacts the ease of delivery and intensity of labor pain during birth.
Poor sleep in pregnant females not only results in increased complications during childbirth, but they are also exposed to the risk of pre-term birth and low body weight.
Lack of sleep during pregnancy is followed by the inflammation of the body, a weak immune system, but can also induce depression and increased level of anxiety
If a female fails to get sufficient sleep during pregnancy, the lack of sleep may result in an irregulated heartbeat, fluctuating blood pressure.
This is also called preeclampsia (a condition that causes an irregulated blood pressure affecting the kidney resulting in the premature birth of the baby.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is another complication found in pregnant females lacking enough sleep.
The condition is induced by the placenta preventing the body from using insulin effectively, resulting in the accumulation of glucose in the body of the female.
Having a sufficient sleep during the first and third trimester of pregnancy, when the body is experiencing maximum hormonal and physical strain, ensures that the body gets enough time to rejuvenate and smoothly metabolize the food and nutrients, to help in the growth of the developing child.
Factors Causing Disturbance In Sleep During Pregnancy
According to poll research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 1998, it was reported that 78% of the pregnant females experience an increased sleep disturbance and unregular sleep patterns.
Following are some of the factors disturbing sleep during pregnancy:
Hormonal change is the prime factor disturbing the sleep of pregnant females. A rise in progesterone level, during pregnancy, compels women to feel lethargic and sleepy during the daytime, thus promoting sleep.
As a result, they are unable to fall asleep at night. Progesterone also causes multiple respiratory problems, making it uneasy for females to get adequate sleep during nighttime.
Fluctuating the level of estrogen in pregnant females is also one of the prime factors causing a disturbance in sleep for pregnant females.
Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Heartburn or discomfort in the chest due to increased acidity is also a significant factor inducing insomnia or lack of sleep.
The condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where an increased level of progesterone in the body results in a relax gastric valves.
This promotes and intensifies heartburn in pregnant females, making them feel discomfort and trouble in getting enough sleep.
Pain And Discomfort In Lower Back
Body pain, especially in pelvic girdle (lower upper body), is frequently observed in pregnant females.
This condition is prevalent, especially during the first and third trimester, where hormonal and physical changes at their peak in a female body.
The pressure exerted by the growing individuals, as well as the supporting the weight of the baby, results in pain in the lower back and swallowing of feet.
This results in increased discomfort and uneasiness, which keeps pregnant females from having sufficient sleep.
Sleep Apnea is another disorder, frequently observed in pregnant females disturbing their sleep patterns.
Sleep Apnea is a condition that interrupts the breathing mechanism, causing females to wake up during their sleep often.
This condition can prove as a trigger for multiple other complications arising in pregnant females, including gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, hypertension and low birth weight of the newborn.
A frequent urge to pee while being pregnant is shared among all females. Increased level of progesterone and estrogen causes persistent contraction of urinary bladder and rectum walls.
Also, the Placenta exerts pressure on the walls of the urinary bladder compelling the pregnant female to have regular trips to the bathroom.
The urge to pee multiple times at night keep disturbing the sleep during pregnancy.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome is a common condition among females, which keeps them physically agitated with an uncontrollable urge to move their legs while at rest.
RLS is often an outcome of anemia or a lack of sufficient nutrients in the body during pregnancy.
The urge to keep their legs moving or shaking keeps the pregnant women anxious and agitated, thus disturbing their sleep patterns.
Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression are some of the common factors reported among pregnant females.
Feelings of anxiousness related to labor and delivering, keeping up with the changes in the body, variations of their relationship dynamics with their partner, emotional feelings of becoming a mother, etc.
All of these factors combine to induce depression and anxiety among pregnant females.
Methods To Cope-Up With The Disturbed Sleep During Pregnancy
Excessive drug usage to resolve the problems related to insomnia or gastric disturbances can cause harm to the developing fetus.
Therefore, a preferred way to deal with sleep deprivation is to modify your daily routine and practicing strict hygiene.
Consulting your doctor on time and regularly taking the prescribed nutrients and vitamins is the first step to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.
Using prenatal Vitamins containing folate, along with iron supplements, keeps RLS (restless legs syndrome) under check.
Intake of healthy fruits and vegetables, increasing the consumption of whole grains, cereals, and other dietary fibers are the best supplements to fulfill the deficiency of folate in the body.
It is best to avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages to prevent any gastric issues or risk of insomnia.
The safest and best treatment to deal with sleep apnea is to use continuous positive airway pressure to avoid breathing problems that disturb sleeping patterns of pregnant women.
A minimal amount of antacids can be used to deal with the condition of heartburn or Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Other measures which can help improve sleep during pregnancy include:
A regular and properly planned sleep schedule
An improved diet with sufficient intake of vitamins and nutrient supplements
Adequate intake of fluids to regulate blood pressure and avoid heartburn
30 minutes of exercise daily to improve metabolism and physical activity
Sleeping on your left side to ensure improved blood flow to the kidneys and fetus
Avoid laying on your back for an extended period, always lay down sideways while keeping your knees and hips bend
Use a soft mattress with pillows under your abdomen, back and knees to give support and keep the pressure off your lower back
Avoid prolonged sleep during daytime for comfortable sleep at night
To conclude, the importance of sleep during pregnancy cannot be undermined, as it plays a critical role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a healthy delivery.
Sleep deprivation resulting from multiple factors, including insomnia, heartburn, RLS, GRED, anxiety, and depression can result in various complications, during the time of labor and pregnancy.
Taking healthy and hygienic measures, followed by a healthy diet, can help improve sleep patterns.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !