Health + Fitness

How Sleep Is Different During Pregnancy

Pregnancy has many different levels to it. These changes not only affect your body but also your sleepys. Once you have conceived, to the time you get your baby. A lot of shift occurs due to newly produced hormones, sleeping patterns, sleeping positions and the quality of sleep. The effects of pregnancy on sleep are experienced differently by each individual. If you have prior sleep disorders it is crucial you alert your doctor to have them treated before they become worse as the pregnancy progresses. However, there are a number of solutions to these effects, insomnia in pregnancy and how to relieve sleep provoked back pain.

How pregnancy hormones shift sleep

A pregnant woman can vouch for this, that there are dramatic hormones that come with the pregnancy. The changes cause a lot of difference to the person in terms of mood changes, physical appearance, metabolism, and sleep architecture.

 One of the hormones the Progesterone causes your muscles to relax and a pregnant woman has a frequent need to urinate, also there is nasal congestion and recurrent heartburn that interferes with the quality sleep. Depending on the levels of progesterone in the body it may reduce the amount it takes to fall asleep. By reducing the amount of rapid eye movement sleep you tend to stay awake for long hours.

The Oxytocin hormone at night gets to really high levels causing contractions that eventually disrupt sleep.  The more the levels stay high the higher the chances of going into labor and having to deliver at night which is not as exciting to any parent. Melatonin levels in a pregnant woman also rise during pregnancy leading to a more slow-wave sleep that makes the pregnant women sleepier and making them doze off frequently.

Pregnant women experience swollen feet and legs and nose congestion disrupting normal breathing. This condition is brought by one of the most important hormones in pregnancy the estrogen hormone. This happens because of vasodilation that occurs because of blood vessels becoming larger. It also reduces the amount of REM sleep as the progesterone hormone does. Hence the combo of the two affecting the REM sleep makes you super sleepy although it’s during a certain time in the pregnancy. 

Viable sleep problems per trimester

Although sleep has various challenges to a pregnant woman. The challenges do not occur throughout the pregnancy they actually ease off in most women by the third trimester but it is different in most women. Some of these symptoms and sleep disorders that appear in pregnancy may worsen or appear for a short while.  To other women, this is the first time they experience these sleep disorders and it becomes a challenge for them. Examples of these sleep disorders are sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia.

In the first trimester, the sleep problems are too unique for first-time mothers especially, for they have not experienced this before. Some of the problems include increased fatigue and daytime sleepiness. This is when a woman has very low levels of iron in their blood. In this trimester, there are other sleep problems such as morning sickness, breast tenderness, increased appetite, and frequent urination. Anxiety is also rapid especially if the pregnancy was unplanned, and there is no one to support them leading to severe insomnia.

In the second trimester, most women sleep more and better since they have increased energy levels and are used to the pregnancy. Nonetheless, Braxton-hicks contractions that are false contractions are experienced and interfere with the new sleep pattern acquired during this trimester. Constant movements of the fetus also interrupt sleep in this stage but the energy levels are normally improved by now in most women.

In the last trimester, sleep becomes a major challenge to a pregnant woman. It is quite common for up to 33% of pregnant women experience restless sleep. Awakenings during the night affect almost all of them. This is common with the baby having grown fully the need to urinate frequently arises. There is an increase in shortness of breath, default sleeping position, heartburn, back pain and leg cramps among many others.

Results of pregnancy on sleep 

The changes that a pregnant woman faces in her sleep are in quality, quantity and the nature of sleep. And if you experience previous sleep disorders they could get worse during your pregnancy. Labor and delivery also affect sleep negatively since the oxytocin hormone increases during the night hours causing false contractions. The pain later on as the contraction increases during labor do not allow you to sleep at all. The medications that you are given when you are almost delivering your baby also have a negative effect on your sleep. This progresses until you are able to adjust to a certain schedule together with your baby. Risky and unhealthy pregnancies affect sleep in almost all trimesters. Some risky conditions that interfere with pregnancy include bleeding, pelvic pain, continuous hospital visits due to complications such as preeclampsia, which makes the mother anxious through the pregnancy and this disrupts the sleep quality.

Another result of sleep is difficulty in coping at work, eating certain or all foods in general and also unable to achieve ultimate rest prior to the baby being born. However, attending some parental courses and joining mothering groups gives you insights on how to manage during this period as most seasoned mothers do. It is important to take precautions since during pregnancy one is most fragile in many ways. Yet being relaxed and taking it a day at a time should be the ultimate goal.

In conclusion, if you struggle getting sleep during pregnancy visit a professional to explain these uncertainties that you may not understand or are unsure of. A sleep physician can assist if sleep disorders are becoming worse. It is important to get an understanding of what is happening in different trimesters that may change your sleep routine in your journey to being a mother either for the first time or another round of it all.

INFOtainment News

Contributing authors to the INFOtainment News team. Let us know if you'd like to contribute as well.

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