Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sweet Dreams!

I found that for majority of my pregnancy I did not get much sleep.  Whether I was running to pee in the middle of the night or puke, or just uncomfortable I got maybe 3 hours of sleep a day.  When preparing for such a huge task your body should certainly be well rested.  I remember asking my doctor why I was unable to sleep, if there was an actual reason hormonally.  She told me that it was my bodies way of preparing me for what it would be like when the baby sleep.  Though partially true, also partially false.  You don’t know what your baby will be like once they are here.  For me, I was fortunate enough to have a good sleeper, he has slept great since the day we brought him home from the hospital.  Since the baby is sleeping 12 hours a night and 2 naps during the day, why would I need to be prepared for no sleep?
          I later learned through my studies that the hormonal changes in your body are the biggest reason for the lack of sleep.  The little dickens estrogen is the culprit, along with many other factors like the bulging human in your belly.  Any hormonal shift will cause insomnia.  Along with the hormonal changes, there are many physical changes taking place that are causing quite a bit of discomfort.  Some pregnant women experience leg cramps, difficulty breathing due to the baby’s positioning, frequent urination, constant vomiting, back pain, vivid dreaming (nightmares), anxiety about delivery, and a baby who decides it is time to play in the middle of the night.  These are all super normal with pregnancy but does make getting sleep a bit more difficult.  Not to mention, your partner is probably sleeping like a baby and snoring away, also keeping you awake.
          Some ways of coping with this insomnia are: 
  • Exercise if possible.  If you and your doctor or midwife feel all is well and you are able to continue your daily routine, exercise is a great tool to help you sleep.  Exercise is great to relax you if you are dealing with any anxiety.
  • Try not to nap a whole lot during the day.  I know how difficult this is because of the pregnancy fatigue but you will sleep much better if you avoid that mid day nap.
  • Sleep where it is most comfortable for you.  Some women prefer the couch to their bed.  Whatever makes you most comfortable is key.
  • Invest in a body pillow.  They are sold at at Wal-Mart, Target, most baby stores.  Shop around.  It will truly be a life saver.  It is so hard to get comfy at times and a body pillow will help relieve some aches and discomfort.
  • Do your best to steer clear of caffeine.  I know for you coffee drinkers this one may be difficult, but do your best.
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid a few hours before bed.  Pregnancy is known for making you do laps to the bathroom so you want to do your best to limit what you have so you don’t need to go as much in the middle of the night.
  • Find soothing sounds that you can play for you and your baby.  If nothing else is will help you relax and give your baby something nice to listen to for a bit.
          Hopefully some of these things will help you find some relief and understand why you aren’t sleeping.  Your baby will not be affected by your lack of sleep.  The baby sleeps independent of you.  It is totally normal but if you are feeling unsettles about it contact your doctor or midwife.

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