Insomnia during pregnancy: how to deal with it

Insomnia is a disorder in which a person cannot fall asleep for a long period of time even when tired. Insomnia during pregnancy worries about 80% of expectant mothers. At the same time, sleep problems manifest themselves differently depending on the trimester.

Types of insomnia in pregnant women

At different periods of bearing a child, insomnia, or insomnia , has its own reasons, therefore, the ways to eliminate the disorder are different. Sleep disturbance during pregnancy is short-term, transient, chronic.

transient insomnia

It is also called situational because it is provoked by emotional swings in a certain situation. The state can change dramatically from joyful to sad and anxious. Violations in a pregnant woman will be observed until the emotional storm subsides. The average duration is up to 7 days.

Since the expectant mother has plenty of personal experiences, you need to try to protect yourself from external sources that carry negativity. It is worth temporarily refusing to watch the news, since it is often they that provoke unnecessary unrest now.

short-term insomnia

The causes of short-term insomnia in pregnant women are much more significant. They are associated with the physiology of the body of a woman in position, stress. Sometimes this type of sleep disorder is caused by taking certain drugs and diseases of the cardiovascular system.

A short-term sleep disturbance can drag on for several weeks, causing a woman not just discomfort, but already quite tangible harm to health and well-being. If problems with rest continue for more than 7 days, you should consult a doctor to find out the cause and prescribe treatment.

chronic insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a signal that you need to visit a specialist. As a rule, it is associated with physical and mental pathologies. If a woman suffered from sleep disorders even before conceiving a child, then methods of dealing with them should be reconsidered, since almost all medicines, even of natural origin, can harm the baby.

Causes of sleep problems in pregnant women by trimester

Different periods of pregnancy are completely different conditions, therefore, the reasons for different periods will be different. Let’s see why pregnant women experience insomnia in the first, second and third trimester.

First trimester

Insomnia in pregnant women is often provoked by hormonal changes in the body. Estrogen gives way to progesterone, which is called the guardian of pregnancy. This hormone contributes to rapid fatigue and therefore the expectant mother constantly wants to sleep. However, sleep is regularly interrupted: women in the first trimester are disturbed by frequent urge to go to the toilet, as the enlarging uterus presses on the bladder, nausea torments in the morning. Therefore, it is still not possible to fully relax.

Read more about insomnia in early pregnancy here.

Second trimester

During the second trimester comes the “golden period” for the expectant mother. The hormonal background is stable, the physiology does not cause discomfort, sleep becomes calm, the nervous system stabilizes, the bladder, liver, intestines have adapted to coexist with the growing uterus, their work has returned to normal.

In the second trimester, insomnia can be caused by emotional upheaval, concern about the health of the baby, or external factors (stuffiness, cold in the bedroom, snoring, car noise outside the window).

During this period, insomnia worries pregnant women least of all, and if it does appear, despite the absence of natural physiological causes, you need to inform the doctor about it.

third trimester

Insomnia in late pregnancy will definitely remind you of itself again. Perhaps it is during this period that sleep problems are especially pronounced. Doctors distinguish several types of sleep disorders that develop during this period:

  1. Starting insomnia , when a woman cannot sleep.
  2. Median – awakening during the fast phase, not allowing you to go to deep sleep, in which the body completely rests.
  3. The final one is an early awakening, when the pregnant woman can no longer sleep further.

Insomnia in the third trimester and before childbirth is due to many reasons.

  • Due to the greatly enlarged uterus, breathing difficulties arise, the diaphragm rises and constricts the lungs. They do not gain the full amount of oxygen, the expectant mother experiences a feeling of lack of air. Therefore, pregnant women cannot fall asleep for a long time and often wake up. Such problems will disappear after childbirth, when the organs return to their places again.
  • The stomach becomes large and does not allow you to take a comfortable sleeping position.
  • The uterus again strongly begins to put pressure on the intestines and ureter, forcing the expectant mother to wake up 5 times a night or more.
  • The baby can start to push and not give the pregnant woman rest.
  • The work of the gastrointestinal tract is disrupted due to the effects of hormones, and the woman has to suffer from heartburn.
  • From about 36 weeks, a future woman in labor can feel the so-called training contractions, which often begin at night.
  • In the evening, pregnant women often have pain and aches in the lower back due to the high load on the spine, and the manifestations of varicose veins intensify.
  • In the middle of the night and closer to the morning, due to a lack of calcium and magnesium, cramps in the legs occur, and numbness of the hands may be observed.
  • The tight skin of the abdomen often itches, causing discomfort.

In the last month of pregnancy and just before the birth, the situation worsens. Fatigue grows, and the waiting becomes more and more painful. There is a fear of childbirth and increased anxiety about the health of the child.

How to deal with sleep disorders?

Before you start dealing with insomnia during pregnancy, you should find out the reasons that caused it. If they are associated with disorders in the body, you need to consult a specialist and follow his recommendations.

Self-administration of any medication without prescription and supervision of a doctor during pregnancy is prohibited.

The following tips will help alleviate the condition and, if not completely eliminate insomnia, then at least significantly improve the quality of sleep.

  • It is necessary to reconsider the regime of the day and nutrition. Eat dinner no later than 3 hours before bedtime so that the body has time to digest food. Refuse tea, coffee at night.
  • It is useful to drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed. In the early stages, this remedy helps a lot.
  • Herbal preparations should not be taken without the approval of a doctor. The safest folk remedies include decoctions and infusions of chamomile, mint, lemon balm, valerian root.

The only drug allowed for insomnia in pregnant women are valerian tablets (but not alcohol tincture!). It is worth knowing that valerian acts on the rise. At first, you may not notice the effect of its use, but after a couple of weeks, the effect will fully manifest itself.

  • Do not take a contrast shower at night, it can increase muscle tone, increase blood circulation, and insomnia will be provided. But the fresh air will help you fall asleep. Therefore, before going to bed, you need to ventilate the bedroom, take a walk in the park.
  • You can eat a small turkey sandwich 2 hours before bedtime. It contains tryptophan, which promotes sleep.
  • It is recommended to dissolve a spoonful of honey in warm water or cranberry juice and drink a glass of this drink at night.
  • If 15 minutes after the woman went to bed, sleep does not come, you should try to do monotonous, emotionless things that will help you calm down and tune in to peace. It can be knitting, sewing.
  • Before a night’s rest, you should lubricate the stomach with lotion to prevent itching.
  • It is worth asking someone close to do a massage so that pain in the lower back, in the back, and in the legs is not disturbed.

We create an environment for relaxation

It is necessary to organize all the conditions for a comfortable stay. What can be done for this?

  • Nothing bad will happen if the husband temporarily moves to sleep on the floor or on the sofa. Then the expectant mother will be able to sit on the entire surface of the bed, if it is not very wide. Or maybe you should take the situation as an excuse to buy a bigger bed, especially if you plan to sleep with your baby in the future.
  • In the third trimester , insomnia returns from 33 weeks. At this stage, special pillows for pregnant women will help. Such devices will make it possible to relax and take a comfortable position. Also fit 3 regular pillows of different shapes.
  • In special courses for expectant mothers, they teach how to get rid of insomnia using relaxation techniques. Before going to bed, you can lie on your back, stretch your arms along the body, slightly raise your legs and start imitating walking. Judging by the reviews, many fall asleep immediately after such an exercise.
  • The disorder at 37 weeks of gestation is more often associated with an increase in the abdomen. Therefore, it is better to sleep on the left side so that the blood supply to the fetus is maximized.

Read more about how to sleep better during pregnancy here.

For some women, simple meditation helps to cope with insomnia. Try this exercise:

  1. Close your eyes, focus on your breath.
  2. Feel how the toes relax and warm first, then the feet, legs, knees, and hips.
  3. Rise further, gradually bypassing the attention of the whole body and feeling warm and relaxed.
  4. The last step is to relax the muscles of the face.
  5. If the long-awaited dream did not come, repeat the procedure from the beginning.

If insomnia during pregnancy has tormented you to such an extent that the amount of sleep is no more than 6 hours a day, then this is a reason for a visit to the doctor.

Psychological aspects of the fight against insomnia

Anxiety for the child and the upcoming birth, chronic fatigue, nervous strain, nightmares can deprive the expectant mother of a relaxing holiday. Getting rid of insomnia is unlikely without addressing its psycho-emotional causes.

You need to try to properly organize your day, starting in the morning and follow the following recommendations.

  • To cope with the problem, it is important to avoid overexertion during the day. Excessive fatigue can interfere with sleep.
  • It is better not to go into the bedroom once more during the day and not lie down on the bed to watch TV or read. The bed should be a place to sleep.
  • If earlier daytime naps were commonplace, then it is better to give them up for a few days.
  • For the evening, you should not plan serious conversations and important things, it is advisable to avoid TV.
  • Two hours before bedtime, you need to create a relaxing environment: turn on the nightlights, ventilate the room. You can go to bed and turn on quiet calm music, audio books, recordings with the noise of a waterfall, rain, wind.
  • If nightmares or worries begin to torment, it is worth talking about it with a loved one. It will become much easier.

Excessive sleepiness during the day during pregnancy is a kind of reminder of nature that a woman needs to rest as much as possible. But in the presence of daytime sleepiness, 78% of expectant mothers suffer from insomnia. After the birth of the baby, it should pass: constant chores, worries, fatigue will help you fall asleep without problems. Insomnia during pregnancy is a kind of training before childbirth and further care for the baby. That is why you should not despair, soon everything will pass.

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