Though many women tend to give last priority to sleep in a daily life, adequate sleep of 7-8 hours a day is important for pregnant women to maintain physical and mental health.

Sleep deprivation is caused either due to decreased duration of sleep or poor quality sleep caused by

  • Anxiety
  • Increased frequency of passing urine in the night.
  • Discomfort due to increased size of abdomen.
  • Lower back ache.
  • Heartburn.
  • Physical and mental changes that occur due to elevated estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in pregnancy.

A few studies report that lack of adequate sleep during pregnancy may increase the risk of

  • Preterm delivery.
  • Prolonged duration of labor.
  • Increased sensitivity or perception of pain and discomfort during labor.
  • Postpartum depression with negative mood, anger, frustration, irritation, repulsive to social life, etc. after delivery of the baby.

Tackling sleep problems in pregnancy:

Dealing with the underlying cause of insomnia or lack of sleep in pregnancy is the main rule to increase sleep duration and have an adequate, sound sleep.

A few measures which may be helpful are:

  1. Sleeping to the side (ideally on left side) with knees and hips bent and with a pillow between legs. This may avoid discomfort, give mild relief from lower back ache and improve blood circulation to the uterus as well.
  2. Eating light dinner 2-3 hours before going to bed, walking for a few minutes after dinner and sleeping on the back with upper part of body slightly elevated by placing a pillow below chest and head. This may help in avoiding discomfort due to heartburn in the night.
  3. Preparing before going to bed in the night by taking a warm water bath, a massage, reading a book, playing pleasant music, drinking warm milk 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to sleep, keeping a comfortable room temperature while sleeping.
  4. Emptying the bladder completely before going to bed, to avoid frequent trips to washroom in the middle of the night.
  5. Exercise, walking, routine physical activity regularly in a day.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824023/

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/insomnia-during-pregnancy/

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy/

 

  –   Dr. Divya Teja Pasupuleti

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