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
- Increased frequency of passing urine in the night.
- Discomfort due to increased size of abdomen.
- Lower back ache.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emptying the bladder completely before going to bed, to avoid frequent trips to washroom in the middle of the night.
- Exercise, walking, routine physical activity regularly in a day.
– Dr. Divya Teja Pasupuleti