This is how sleep changes when you're pregnant
Being a parent is a wonderful thing, but it is a huge change to your life. From the instant you have conceived to once you’ve given birth, your body goes through a lot of changes while you are pregnant. Other than your physical shape, the most noticeable changes in your body are in the way that you sleep...
More frequent need to pee
When you are pregnant you are likely to need to pee a lot more at night because of the way your uterus is positioned above your bladder. You’re also likely to be drinking a lot more water and eating more food than you were previously because you are growing another life inside your own. This leads to more bathroom trips.
The further along your pregnancy gets, the more your body is going to be changing. Your ankles and wrists are going to swell, your belly is going to feel like it’s the size of a planet and all of it is going to make you feel uncomfortable. Because of these changes, you are likely to need to change the position that you sleep in. You’ll probably need to also purchase pillows to support your growing belly and help you to avoid back pain from sleeping in a funky position.
Hormone level changes
As you go through your pregnancy, your hormones are going to change a lot. This can both disrupt your sleep and help it in different ways depending on where you are in the pregnancy. You are going to produce higher levels of melatonin and prolactin which can help you to get more slow-wave sleep. However, increasing levels of progesterone and estrogen can make it a lot harder to get REM sleep that helps you to feel rested. This is why you might find yourself needing more naps while you are pregnant and getting less sleep at night.
Growing pains - literally
Your body is going to be changing a lot throughout your pregnancy, and so will your baby’s. These changes can be painful for the mother, which will make it difficult to sleep. It’ll also be harder to sleep once your baby starts moving and kicking. You can take some painkillers without causing problems for your child’s health as well as using lifestyle changes like exercise to work through some of the longer-term pain.
If you are pregnant and finding that you are having extreme trouble sleeping, you need to talk to your doctor. Sleep issues like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can have a huge impact on both your own health and that of your baby, and can get worse while you are pregnant. If left untreated, those issues can develop into lifelong problems that could be, at worst, life-threatening. Your doctor will be able to work with you to figure out what is causing them and how best to treat them.
About Tuck: Tuck is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on The Washington Post, HuffPost, NBC News, CNN, NPR, Lifehacker, and Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.