“Sleep more, after giving birth there will be no time for sleep,” friends and relatives advise expectant mothers. However, for some reason, it’s not possible to relax and sleep “in reserve” in the third trimester of pregnancy: either sleep is in no hurry to come, then you have to get up to the toilet every couple of hours, then heartburn torments you before going to bed, the baby kicks, and you can’t find a comfortable position. We talk about the causes of poor sleep during pregnancy, how you can deal with them and when you need an appointment with a doctor.
Physiology of pregnancy: night trips to the toilet and heartburn
Pregnancy brings so many different changes in the body that it is sometimes difficult to figure out what is normal and what indicates a pathology. Let’s check which symptoms are normal, and which require an appointment with a doctor or a consultation by phone +7 (499) 519–32-56.
Night visits to the toilet
All expectant mothers face this problem, and almost nothing can be changed. Pregnancy and frequent urge to urinate are directly related: there is more fluid in the body, the kidneys work hard, and the baby and the enlarged uterus put pressure on the bladder. Therefore, the third trimester of pregnancy is the time of frequent trips to the toilet, including at night. Can this be changed somehow?
It is categorically impossible to reduce the total volume of fluid that enters the body. This is a direct path to pregnancy complications, kidney disease, hospitalization. But you can drink more in the first half of the day and less in the evening. It also helps to provide yourself with conditions for falling asleep quickly after going to the toilet — do not turn on bright lights along the way, but replace it with soft illumination of nightlights (later they may come in handy in the nursery). Subdued lighting will help you stay drowsy and fall asleep faster after returning from the toilet.
Heartburn during pregnancy
And this companion of pregnancy, unfortunately, is normal. The reason is both in the change in the position of the internal organs, and in the softening of the tissues due to hormones. As a result, the food bolus is closer to the esophagus, and the esophageal sphincter does not close. Part of the food, together with gastric juice, is thrown back into the cavity of the esophagus and irritates its mucosa. There is heartburn, burning inside, especially unpleasant before bedtime. What to do?
Helps to observe a two-hour break between the last meal and bed, so the food bolus has time to leave the stomach. It is also necessary to avoid irritants — spicy, sour, fatty foods. A good way for those who are not helped by food restrictions is to raise the head of the bed. You can sleep on a higher pillow or put a folded blanket under the head of the mattress. Sleeping on your left side is also a proven way for those who suffer from heartburn.
Of the acceptable options for drugs, you can resort to sodium carbonate, dissolve a little soda in a glass of water. And if nothing helps, you need to make an appointment with a doctor — a gynecologist or a gastroenterologist — to select antacids allowed for pregnant women and establish the main cause of heartburn. Perhaps the problem is not in pregnancy, but in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Problems with choosing a sleeping position: when do you need an appointment with a doctor?
Most often, a large belly interferes with lying down comfortably. The third trimester is a period when the child is almost the size of a newborn, and the volume of the uterus, placenta, amniotic fluid and grown breasts is also added to it. Not surprisingly, choosing a comfortable position is becoming increasingly difficult.
But doctors say that the problem may not be only in the posture. One in four expectant mothers suffer from restless leg syndrome, which disrupts sleep. The legs move involuntarily when falling asleep, and it seems that the whole reason is in an uncomfortable position. Most often, this syndrome is a consequence of a lack of iron and folic acid, and in order to find out and correct the deficiency, an appointment with a doctor is needed. The lack of these trace elements not only interferes with sleep, but also affects the health and development of the child.
Snoring during pregnancy
Snoring is a common companion of pregnant women. Even those who previously did not make any sounds in their sleep may begin to snore and snore. There are two reasons: increased body weight and swelling of the nasopharyngeal mucosa, which occurs due to changes in the hormonal background. You can alleviate the condition by washing the nasopharynx with saline solutions at bedtime. An appointment with a doctor will help you choose vasoconstrictor drugs. It is especially important to consult a specialist if snoring causes temporary respiratory arrest, sleep apnea.
Even those expectant mothers who have never snored can hear comments from relatives about new unusual sounds. Sometimes it interferes with the sleep of the pregnant woman herself, and occasionally causes sleep apnea.
Baby’s night activity
There are kids who seem to be just waiting for their mother to lie down to start actively moving and kicking. What a dream there is, if there are such “dances” in the stomach! What is the reason?
The main thing that needs to be ruled out is the lack of oxygen for the child. In some positions, the uterus compresses the vena cava, and first of all, the baby feels it, starting to move actively at first, and then subside. In the mother, vena cava syndrome (most often in the supine position) can lead to fainting. All this is extremely unhelpful, but is easily corrected by changing the position of the body.
If everything is fine with the child, and he just likes activity at night, you can try to calm him down with stroking his stomach, talking and singing. Or start sleeping at a different time of day: unfortunately, some kids dictate their daily routine to their parents even before birth.
Daily routine and physical activity during pregnancy
If you manage to arrange a quiet hour for yourself during the day, then it is not surprising that in the evening there may be difficulties with going to bed. In such cases, it is better to finish the afternoon siesta before 3 pm so that the body can return to the sleep cycle in the evening in time.
A long morning sleep is also an opponent of an easy evening falling asleep, and you will have to adjust the daily routine. Well, if there is not enough physical activity, at least ordinary walks, it becomes difficult to fall asleep too. But all these reasons are easy to remove and regain a normal night’s sleep.
Emotions that interfere with sleep
Anxiety and anticipation of childbirth, a new stage of life, combined with the influence of pregnancy hormones, can interfere with falling asleep, or can cause vivid and realistic dreams. And sometimes quite scary. If going to bed becomes a problem, you should think about evening rituals — a warm bath, reading. But games on devices, surfing the Internet, social networks and watching TV should be excluded, the blue light of monitors prevents the body from tuning in to sleep.
Relaxation practices are also a good option for the expectant mother. Now they will help to calm down and have a better rest, in childbirth — to remove unnecessary muscle spasms, and after the baby is born — to restore strength.
What should you do before bed?
Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day improves sleep for everyone. It is worth remembering that active exercises should be carried out not before bedtime, but at least two hours before it. But you can take a walk or do a set of stretching exercises later.
Back pain and uncomfortable posture can be corrected with a maternity and nursing pillow. It is placed under the stomach, arranged between the knees to correct the load on the pelvic organs, and after childbirth, such a pillow is a great helper when feeding the baby.
Leg fatigue and night cramps can also be overcome. If there is no deficiency of trace elements, then warm baths with salt and foot massage before bedtime help.