People say that getting a good night’s sleep ends once you have kids, but if you’re expecting, you know that disruptions in your slumber actually kick off during pregnancy. In fact, almost 80 percent of women have trouble sleeping while pregnant. It’s likely that your bedtime issues will change slightly as you go through the first trimester, and then the second trimester, and, finally, the third trimester, but there are certain steps that you can take to minimize the tossing and turning.
During the first and third trimesters, in particular, you may find you need to urinate frequently during the night, since your baby is positioned in a way that presses on your uterus and gives you the urge to go. While you can’t prevent this completely, you can reduce the number of trips that you make to the bathroom by limiting beverages in the p.m. hours—especially those that contain caffeine, as they are bladder stimulants (plus, too many caffeinated drinks might increase your risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and/or birth defects).
If you notice that a curry craving often leads to poor sleep, it may be time to say farewell to spicy dishes. Your expanding uterus puts pressure on your stomach, causing the contents of your meals to come back up while you sleep. And if you ate something spicy, it’s likely that this will lead to heartburn. Avoiding spicy or fatty foods in addition to eating small, frequent meals throughout the day and having an earlier dinner can help prevent food from messing with your shut-eye. But if that still doesn’t help, try sleeping with your head slightly elevated or talk to your doctor about safe, over-the-counter fixes.
It’s normal to suffer from leg cramps while pregnant, a problem that you can blame on the fact that your baby is putting pressure on certain nerves, leading to changes in circulation. Stretching your legs before bed may ease the aches, as can a massage. But if you’re still in discomfort, ask your doctor if magnesium or calcium supplements could help.
If an unsettled tummy is keeping you awake at night, it may help to go to bed with an empty stomach. If that’s out of the question, stick to bland snacks such as crackers, which won’t upset your stomach as much.
Pregnancy may make it harder to get proper sleep, but it’s important to try to figure out a fix for your p.m. troubles sooner rather than later. After all, the more you can stock up on sleep now, the more energy you’ll have to take care of your little one once he or she arrives.