Maybe you find yourself nodding off during the day? Or maybe no matter how much sleep you get it never seems to be enough? Here’s how to sleep better during pregnancy
WORDS RACHEL LIM
Many women, even those who didn’t use to experience any sleep problems pre-pregnancy, find that they have difficulty getting enough good sleep.
Pay Attention to Your Sleep Postures
The best sleep position during pregnancy is sleep-on-side (SOS). Sleeping on your left side, in particular, may increase the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the placenta and your baby. As your belly gets bigger in the second and final trimesters, avoid lying flat on your back as this might decrease the blood flow to your uterus.
Consider using pillows between your legs and behind your back to increase your comfort. Lying on your back in a half-sitting position, propped up
using some pillows may be helpful in relieving heartburn.
Some may also suffer from Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD)—a pregnancy condition caused by relaxation of the ligaments that normally keep the two sides of the pelvic bone together at the symphysis pubis, the joint in the pubic area. The hormone relaxin is softening those joints to prepare your body for natural vaginal birth. You feel a tremendous pain in your pubic bone, groin, hips, inner thighs and/or buttocks when you separate your legs or try to roll over in bed. Remember to keep your ankles, knees and thighs together tightly when you toss in bed to reduce the torture.
Prevent Leg Cramps
It is not pleasant to be rudely awoken by nasty leg cramps in the middle of the night. You can reduce episodes of leg cramps at night by doing the following:
Avoid Sleep-inducing Supplements
It is not safe to use sleeping pills or sleep-inducing supplements such as melatonin and tryptophan during pregnancy. You can try natural sleep aids such as drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime to bring on sleep. Research suggests that the amino acid L-tryptophan found in milk makes you sleepy by raising the level of the brain chemical serotonin.
Use Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is not recommended in the first trimester. Some essential oils may cause uterine contractions or adversely affect baby-in-womb in the early developmental stages. However, in the second and third trimesters, it is generally safe to use some essential oils. These include lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang which can calm, help you relax and aid sleep. Always verify the safety of your essential oils for use during pregnancy with your healthcare provider.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Always guard your sleep by practising these sleep hygiene tips: