by Patricia Hughes
When you are pregnant your doctor, family members and pregnancy books will all stress the importance of getting enough rest. This is good advice. Rest is very important for pregnant women. Fatigue is a big problem for many women, particularly in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. Unfortunately, during those trimesters sleep disturbances are very common.
The First Trimester
The biggest problem in the first trimester is fatigue. You can feel like you just can’t get enough rest, even when you go to bed earlier. The fatigue is caused by hormonal changes in the body. There are some experts and mothers that believe there may be a biological function for this fatigue. Pregnant women take naps and go to be early when they are tired. This may be intended to help protect the baby in the early weeks of pregnancy.
The only way to deal with fatigue is to get more rest. You can’t survive on coffee or other sources of caffeine as you would if you were not pregnant. It can be difficult to rest during the day, especially if you work full time or are home with other children. Working women can try to rest during lunch breaks. If sleep is not possible, try closing your eyes and just taking a break.
If you are home with children, try to take a nap with your little ones. If your child or children have outgrown naps, you can designate a rest time in the afternoon. Reading stories or quietly coloring with your feet up can give you a short break in a hectic day. Make up for lost rest by getting to bed a bit earlier in the evening.
The Third Trimester
Fatigue returns with a vengeance in the third trimester. As your baby grows, the pregnancy becomes more physically demanding on your body. To make matters even worse it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a comfortable position to sleep. The pregnant belly can get in the way of finding a good position. Body pillows can help. Three or four bed pillows can be used to support the body to help induce sleep.
When you do find a comfortable position, you may be awakened for a trip to the bathroom. Frequent urination is the result of the baby pushing on your bladder. There isn’t too much you can do about this problem. You can try limiting drinks in the two hours before bed time. Some women find that even when they limit fluids, the bathroom trips remain frequent.
This can be a problem throughout pregnancy, but is also more common in the early and late months. The insomnia could be caused by changing hormone levels. Stress is another big reason for insomnia. Finding out you are pregnant is a life changing event. It is very normal to be worried about finances or other issues related to the new arrival. These pressures can resurface in the final months when the big day is near.
The worst thing you can do if you are suffering from insomnia is to lie in bed and think about the fact that you can’t get to sleep. Get out of bed and leave the bedroom. Try doing something that will make you tired, such as reading, a warm glass of milk or relaxing music. When you are feeling tired, go back to bed and try to get to sleep. You can take comfort in the fact that this too shall pass and you will be able to rest again. Of course, by then your baby may spoil those plans!
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.