Top 6 Pregnancy Sleep Problems Solved

I bet you’ve been warned that once you have your baby, you’ll be getting a lot less sleep.  But did you know that sleep deprivation actually begins during pregnancy?  Joanne Kimes, author of  “Pregnancy Sucks: What to do when your miracle makes your miserable,”  offers some insight on the A-Zzzzzzs of a better night's sleep.
By Joanne Kimes

Yes, once you decide to go forth and multiply you also multiply the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is more difficult than shaving your legs during your third trimester.

Problem #1: Your Digestive System
For starters, being pregnant wrecks havoc on your digestive system, slowing it down so that your body can absorb every nutrient from your food.  Not only does this result in uncomfortable constipation and enough gas to solve the energy crisis, but it can cause heartburn and acid reflux which can make lying down uncomfortable.  Sure you can sleep upright in a chair, but if your doctor allows, a better solution would be to take an H2 blocker like Zantac.

Problem #2: Sleep Position
 Another sleeping challenge is finding a comfortable position.  Once your belly grows large, sleeping on your stomach is impossible, sleeping on your back is a no-no, and sleeping on your left side is encouraged (it allows for better blood flow to your placenta).  If you’re a stomach or back sleeper this will take some time getting used to, however some added support will help ease the transition.

To get the support you need, snatch your husband’s pillow and tuck it underneath your belly (since he’s unable to help out carrying the child, it’s the very least he can do).  If one pillow isn’t enough, get yourself a pregnancy pillow, a blissfully wonderful full body pillow that supports you from head to toe.  Some pillows can be pricy but you knew going into the deal that having a kid would be expensive, you just didn’t know it would start adding up so quickly! 

Problem #3: Those Crazy Pregnancy Dreams
Disturbing dreams are another reason for getting less shut-eye. Pregnancy can be a stressful time so your dreams can become freakier than a Tim Burton film. When I was pregnant I once dreamt that I gave birth to a child with no skin.  Another time I dreamt I was struggling to get my newborn to latch on to nurse, and looked down to see that she had a beak where her mouth should be.  If you’re disturbed by disturbing dreams, don’t fret.  It’s part and parcel to the pregnancy game. 

Problem #4: Leg Cramps
Late night Charlie horses can wake you up in a panic as you writhe in pain with a terrible leg cramp. If you get them often, talk to your doctor, but for the most part, stretching, heat, and massage provide relief.  After the leg cramp is gone, then you’re faced with another pain: the pain in the ass of trying to fall back to sleep!

Problem #5: Pee Pilgrimages
Waking up in the middle of the night to pee is also becoming a habit. With your growing baby pressing down on your bladder, pilgrimages to the potty are commonplace.  Be sure to pee before going to sleep, and use nightlights to mark the path to the bathroom so that you won’t stub your toe stumbling around in the dark.  It’ll be hard enough to fall back to sleep without having to deal with a broken toe. 

Problem #6: Party In Your Womb
Having a wombmate that parties harder than Paris Hilton makes sleeping a chore as well. Not only does she kick you all night, but she hic-cups like a drunken sailor.  Once your baby’s on the outside you can ground her for her nocturnal behavior and take away her Facebook page, but on the inside, there’s little you can do.

If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, talk to your doctor about taking a mild, over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl.  Although an antihistamine is designed to relieve a stuffy nose, one of its side effects is to cause drowsiness.  And being drowsy is just what you may need to fall asleep, stay that way, and, in case you do wake up due to scary dreams, painful leg cramps, a kick-boxing baby, or a trip to the bathroom, you’ll be able to fall back to sleep and get a good night’s rest! 



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