Tips for Sleeping with a Baby Bump
It’s easy to spot the bleary-eyed daze of a new parent – diaper bag in one hand, baby in the other. Between late night bottle-feedings and diaper changes, new parents often incur a severe sleep debt while caring for their newborn baby. Expecting parents are well aware that this next phase will be a rewarding but sleepless one, and well-meaning friends and family remind them to “Get some sleep while you can!”
But for a pregnant women adjusting to the growing weight of her new baby bump, sleeping through the night is often easier said than done. The hormonal changes and physical discomfort associated with pregnancy can take a toll on a pregnant woman's quality of sleep, long before her baby is born. I’ve certainly been there, and I’m pretty sure the only reason I seemed to sleep more when I was expecting my second child than my first was because chasing a toddler while working full-time and growing horizontally didn’t leave me much energy.
Since pregnancy is such an important time for a woman to rest, as her body is growing and changing, here are some sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help expectant mothers get some shut-eye during this critical time:
Pregnancy Sleeping Tips
1. Left Is Best
When pregnant, sleeping on your left side will allow for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. When you can, try to lay on your left side while pregnant. You might even want to check out a great pregnancy pillow to help you maintain this sleep position!
2. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
While hydration is important for anyone in general, drinking the appropriate amount of water is especially important when pregnant. Make sure to drink lots of fluids during the day, but cut down before bedtime to avoid waking up to use the bathroom.
3. Elevate Your Head
If heartburn is a problem you have experienced while pregnant, try sleeping with your head elevated on pillows – or better yet, raise the adjustable base of your mattress. To prevent heartburn, avoid eating large amounts of spicy, acidic (such as tomato products), or fried foods.
4. Maintain a Moderate Exercise Routine
Exercising regularly can help you stay healthy while pregnant by improving your circulation and reducing leg cramps. However, as a word of caution, be sure to check with your doctor about participating in any physical activity while pregnant, and if your doctor does clear you for exercise, make sure you are performing workouts that are safe for you and baby.
5. Take a Mid-day Snooze
If you aren't about to get the sleep you need at night, napping during the day may help. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that 51% of pregnant or recently pregnant women reported at least one weekday nap; 60% reported at least one weekend nap. If you need a little extra shut-eye during the day, don't be afraid to take advantage of a good ol' nap.
6. Practice Mindfulness
While this may be one of the hardest things to do while pregnant, it is important that you learn to relax. Relaxation and breathing techniques can really help you when the contractions begin, so preparing your mind and body with breathing techniques throughout your pregnancy can be a great way to prepare for birth. A warm bath or shower before bed can also be helpful in helping you unwind and relieve stress while pregnant.
7. Create a Sleep Sanctuary
When you become pregnant, it is critical that you assess your current mattress and decide if it’s time to replace, especially if it’s more than eight years old. It is no secret that with pregnancy, your body changes and develops new and different needs This is why your sleep environment is more important than ever. By creating a sleep sanctuary, you will be better able to get the rest you need and take on the challenges of pregnancy and becoming a new mother.
8. Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up
If you feel that your problems sleeping persist longer than normal, or you begin to experience other health issues due to lack of sleep, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. Ultimately, you are better off consulting a professional than allowing any medical issues to persist. Do yourself and you baby a favor and speak up when you don't feel up to your best self.
What are your best tips for sleeping with a bump?