The constant, sometimes overwhelming, exhaustion that a woman feels when she becomes pregnant is the first thing she notices. You suddenly lack the energy to do the things you would normally do. You'd rather stay at home and sleep than go out after work. Tiredness and drowsiness are common during the first 12 weeks. Plus, due to hormonal changes, you also feel nauseous and emotional. And for most women, it doesn’t get easier as their belly grows. But what is it that’s keeping pregnant women awake at night?
Finding out you're pregnant is exciting for most women, but it's also inevitable that you'll have some concerns during the nine months you're carrying your baby inside of you. And it's difficult not to be scared if you're constantly on the internet, browsing and searching for a wealth of information that explains whatever you're feeling right now. This is true for first-time mothers as well. Birth defects, breastfeeding for the first time, and labor difficulties can keep moms awake all night! But the truth is that if you're healthy, there's no reason to be afraid, and most of these fears are simply irrational. Make sure to optimize your pregnancy through proper nutrition, exercise, and prenatal care so you can stop worrying!
Sleep-Disordered Breathing or SDB
Sleep disturbances are common among pregnant women as their bodies change. However, if you are feeling particularly tired during the day, you may have sleep-disordered breathing. The severity of SDB varies from mild snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which the airways collapse during sleep, temporarily blocking airflow and causing moments of breathlessness. These brief pauses are known as apneas and can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or more.
Pregnant women with mild sleep apnea have 5 to 14 breathing pauses per hour, whereas those with severe sleep apnea have more than 30. Treatment for SDB usually begins with a change in lifestyle. If you are obese or gained more weight than is recommended during pregnancy, you are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Extra tissue in your neck can obstruct your airway and make it difficult to breathe at night. Expectant mothers with gestational diabetes are also at a higher risk of SDB. Make sure to get enough exercise, as recommended by your doctor, and ask for the best weight management plan from them as well.
Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move one's legs while at rest, is commonly associated with older people. However, it is also one of the most common causes of sleeplessness during pregnancy.RLS usually occurs in the evening, just before going to bed. Even though it's unpleasant, there’s hope for you! RLS won’t last forever, and gets better after you give birth. For most women, relief comes within the first week of delivery. This condition is linked to anemia, so if you experience RLS, mention to your doctor about your discomfort so they advise you on taking prenatal supplements such as folic acid and iron.
Heartburn, also known as indigestion or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is a burning sensation that occurs when the contents of the stomach move back up into the esophagus. Pregnancy heartburn is common. Pregnancy hormones can relax the valve at the stomach's entrance, causing it not to close properly. This allows acidic stomach contents to move up into the esophagus, causing gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also known as acid reflux. It can worsen later in pregnancy as the uterus grows and presses up against the stomach. A non-prescription acid reliever can help, but consult your doctor first because antacids contain a lot of sodium. Sleeping on your left side and elevating your head can also help with GERD. This is where a maternity pillow can help you sleep comfortably.
This is also a common occurrence in pregnant women, who are frequently woken up at night by painful leg cramps. Unfortunately, science is still unable to explain what causes these leg cramps during pregnancy. Leg cramps, according to the theory, occur as a result of changes in blood circulation and increased stress on the muscles. Leg cramps usually go away in a few minutes, but most women have difficulty falling back asleep. Exercise is essential for preventing leg cramps. Do not sit or stand in one position for an extended period of time.Did you know that 75% of pregnant women struggle to sleep? Sleep is essential, and pregnant women are advised to take naps during the day to supplement their nighttime sleep. We hope that we were able to shed some light on why women struggle to sleep at night. Understanding these sleep issues can help you overcome them!