So everyone keeps telling you to rest up because as a new parent, you will need it! Well sometimes for an expectant mom that is easier said than done.
Here are some of the most common sleep complaints:
“When I lay down in bed my heartburn/acid reflux gets worse!” – During the first trimester, muscles in the esophagus work slower than usual pushing the food into your stomach. Additionally, the stomach takes longer to empty as well. This is in order to give your body more time to absorb extra nutrients for the growing fetus. Unfortunately though, this can also result in heartburn. During the third trimester, the growing fetus can push on the stomach, which can lead to more heartburn.
So what to do?
Here are some tips to reduce/alleviate your heartburn:
• Eat smaller meals
• Try avoiding foods and drinks that can trigger heartburn: Fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods, sodas or seltzer, and caffeine.
• Do not lay down for at least an hour after a meal.
• Take a walk to encourage digestion.
• Try eating yogurt or drinking a glass of warm milk or Chamomile tea to ease heartburn if it starts up.
• Use extra pillows to elevate your upper body while sleeping.
• Sleep on your left side—lying on your right side will position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which can worsen heartburn.
• Try an antacid like Tums
“I have to run to the bathroom to pee every 15 minutes!” – Most pregnant women experience an increased need to urinate during the first trimester. During the second trimester, the fetus moves above the bladder and for most women the feeling of having to constantly run to the bathroom is alleviated/improved. Unfortunately, the problem returns with a vengeance during the third trimester when the growing fetus is crowding all your organs, including your bladder!
Is there help?
This is a tough one. The only advice for this one is to try and drink a lot and stay well-hydrated during the day, but don’t drink as much in the hour before bed time. Also, it may be helpful to avoid drinks that act as a diuretic like coffee, tea, caffeinated soda, and tea. You may have to grin and bear this discomfort during the 1st and 3rd trimesters, although there should be a nice, enjoyable break during the 2nd trimester. This may be Mother Nature’s way of preparing us for all the sleepless nights to come with a new baby!
“My belly is so large and I’m just so uncomfortable!” – A large (and ever-expanding) belly can be very uncomfortable. You toss and turn and just can’t seem to find a comfortable position.
But no worries, there is help…
Try experimenting with multiple pillows. Lay on your left side, and tuck some pillows under your head, under your belly and between your knees. A great investment may be a body pillow which extends down the length of your whole body. There are even body pillows designed for pregnancy that may be worth checking out.
If sleep problems significantly impact your life, even after trying these and other tips, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss the problem.
Wishing you a healthy, happy pregnancy, sound sleep and sweet dreams!