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Sleep Strategies for Moms-to-Be

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"Stay rested." That's wonderful advice for your nine-month journey, but it's easier said than done for some women. A growing belly, an active baby, and hormonal changes can make it tough to fall asleep and stay there. Here are some common pregnancy sleep disruptions and techniques for dealing with them.

Tossing and Turning

One of the most common sleep complaints during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, is finding a comfortable position to sleep in. Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees for lower-back support. You can also buy a body pillow, which can be molded along the length of your body, offering support where you need it most. Some women find relief by sleeping in a slightly reclined position with lots of pillows behind and around them.

Frequent Urination

The farther you get into your pregnancy, the more often you will have to urinate, and nighttime probably will be no exception. The need to urinate increases as your growing uterus compresses your bladder. You don't want to cut back on fluids during the day, but you might try to limit drinking just before bedtime.

In most cases, frequent urination is just a symptom of being pregnant. But you should be aware that urinary tract infections (UTIs) also have this effect. Frequency isn't the only symptom of a UTI: You may feel that you must urinate right away (called "urgency") and feel pain or burning during the process. If you experience symptoms other than frequency, contact your health care provider. He will probably test your urine to see if you have a bacterial infection.

Your Baby's Activity

Some women are awakened by the baby's movements during the night. There's not really anything you can do about this, nor would you want to: A moving baby is usually a healthy baby. When babies stop moving or slow down, we become concerned about their health. So while this may be frustrating for you, it is actually a sign of your little one's good health! If your baby is keeping you awake at night, you can try to get some sleep during the day. Even a short nap can help you feel refreshed.

Sleep-Easy Tips

Here are some other ways to get a good night's sleep:

  • Cut out all caffeine in your diet.

  • Get some exercise each day. Studies show that regular exercise promotes better sleep. Walking is a great choice for pregnant women. For more information on exercising during pregnancy, see Get Moving!.

  • Try drinking a glass of warm milk just before bedtime.

  • Finally, do not take any over-the-counter medications or herbal preparations to help you sleep. Always check with your doctor before treating a symptom on your own.

 

 
 
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What a journey it's been. And now you're in the final stretch, a time when your baby is growing rapidly and looking more and more like the newborn you'll meet soon. Check out what's going on in your third trimester.
Read You're Almost There: The Third Trimester
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I am in my 37th week of pregnancy and am wondering if sleeping on my back is harmful to my baby.
Read Is sleeping on my back while pregnant harmful?