Being pregnant is exciting, but struggling to sleep when heavily pregnant is not so much! We’ve brought in expert blogger Silvia from MumsDelivery to tell us all about how to get good sleep in the last trimester.
For a lot of women, the early stages of pregnancy are incredibly challenging due to big hormonal changes and annoying side effects, such as nausea. After that comes the honeymoon! Around the second trimester, your body adjusts, your tummy starts to pop out, you go on a baby shopping spree and life is good and exciting… Until you get to the final stretch!
For those who have never experienced pregnancy, it can be hard to comprehend just how intense that final stretch can be. You are also likely to hear comments like ‘enjoy your sleep before the baby is here’.
Well, if only your body could easily comply with such instructions!
Sleeping when heavily pregnant will never be as good as sleeping when not heavily pregnant, however, there are small things you can do to help and get a nice rest.
Here are five tips to help you get through.
Pillows are something we normally think of as a neck support during sleeping times. That changes when we get a big bump and realise that other parts of the body desperately need the extra support.
Pregnancy pillows can make a huge difference and considerably improve your sleep. Typically, there are four different shapes: wedge or double wedge, C-shape, U-shape and J shape. The more simple wedge pillow will provide extra support to your belly and/or back. The C, u and J shapes are recommended for some women who may need extra support for knees, hips, ankles and more.
Some pregnancy pillows can also be used as breastfeeding pillows making them a more affordable two-in-one type of purchase.
A good quality mattress
A quality mattress for pregnancy should have adjustable firmness giving extra support where you need it – around the bump. A soft mattress can lead to your belly ‘sinking’ which then may lead to back pain. Another important factor is to have a ‘breathable’ mattress that allows for air flow and keeps you cool throughout the night.
The Ecosa Mattress tick both boxes. With its adjustable layers, You can pick and choose among three levels of firmness – medium, medium firm and firm – by simply switching layers. Ecosa mattresses are also very efficient in keeping your body sweat-free thanks to its pin core holes which allow airflow between layers.
The recommended/ideal position for sleeping during pregnancy is ‘on your left side’. Of course, in the early stages of pregnancy you might twist and turn and find yourself sleeping on your back, right side and even tummy. When that happens, there is no need to panic.
In the third trimester, sleeping on your back becomes incredibly uncomfortable and you will often have no other choice but to sleep on your side. The left side is considered ideal in order to avoid having your inferior vena cava (located to the right side of the spine) compressed by your body weight. Again, if you twist and turn and end up on your right side, there is no need to panic.
One of the not-so-good side effects of late pregnancy is swollen ankles and feet! Compression socks, although not recommended during sleep, can actually help you to prepare for a good night’s sleep, especially if you are going to spend some time walking, standing or sitting during the day.
This type of socks work by ‘massaging’ your muscles and improving blood flow. They should be firm, but not uncomfortably tight. While lower levels of compression socks can be purchased over-the-counter,it is important to speak with your doctor before getting a pair.
As mentioned above, compression socks should be removed at night when your feet/ankle are at the same level as the rest of your body and put on again in the morning to prevent swelling.
During pregnancy, we carry about 50% more fluids than when non-pregnant. When heavily pregnant, the weight of your belly can put extra pressure on the bladder. Both things often lead to increased trips to the toilet!
While maintaining hydration is extremely important, it is best to make sure we have plenty of water during the day and a bit less a couple of hours before bedtime. Pregnant women should also avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks as they may have diuretic effects leading to dehydration.
Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep
Sleeping well is an important part of keeping healthy. Your pregnant body deserves all the rest it can possibly have.
About the Author:
Silvia Borges is a mum-of-three busy kids, writer and co-editor at MumsDelivery. Between part-time work, school run and one-million kids activities, Silvia is always on the hunt for that magic work-life-balance! In lieu of cats and dogs, MumsDelivery is her ‘fourth’ baby!