It’s safe to assume many new parents aren’t sleeping as much as they’d like, but many pregnant women also suffer from insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to insomnia. Pregnant women may also have trouble sleeping due to heartburn, having to use the bathroom more frequently or worries about giving birth, the group explained.
There are ways mothers-to-be can help ensure they get a good night’s sleep. The foundation provides the following tips:
- Calm jittery nerves: It’s natural to be nervous about delivery or how life might change once a new baby arrives. Tossing and turning all night, however, won’t help. Women who are anxious about childbirth should try taking a relaxing bath or ask their partner for a massage before bedtime. Talking about your worries or keeping a journal could also help. Also, avoid using the computer at bedtime since screen time can keep you awake.
- Manage heartburn: A growing baby can put more pressure on the stomach, forcing acid into the esophagus. The discomfort of heartburn can keep you up at night but certain eating strategies can help manage this condition. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid getting too full at one time. Also, don’t lie down right after eating, and avoid spicy or greasy foods that worsen heartburn symptoms.
- Limit nightly bathroom breaks: It’s important to drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy. But if you’re constantly waking up at night to use the bathroom, try to drink more beverages earlier in the day and limit fluids closer to bedtime.
- Get comfortable: As your belly expands during pregnancy, it may be more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Pillows can help by offering support where you need it. Try rolling on to your side. Then place pillows between your knees, under your belly, and behind your back. Specially designed pregnancy pillows are another option.
The American Pregnancy Association provides more on insomnia during pregnancy.