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Why Pregnant Women Need Good Sleep

by Gab Billones


For most women, pregnancy is the time of great joy, excitement and anticipation. It’s a birth of a new life and the start of each mother’s new life. It’s one of the greatest gifts that a family could ever have that they would give anything to keep the child healthy, safe and sound.

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One of the best gifts that an expectant mother can give to her future child is nine months of a healthy pregnancy.

Yes, nine months of eating foods that they might not be used to, nine months of doing movements they’re not comfortable with, nine months of visiting the doctor regularly, and nine months of struggle to sleep the disturbance and pain away.

Considering the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, it’s no wonder that most expectant mothers become tired easily. But despite how tiresome it is, the prevalence of sleep disorders among pregnant women is very common.

Most of these sleeping problems are due to the changing hormone levels and to the emotions and anxiety about labor and delivery, balancing motherhood and work, or their changing relationship with their partner. With these, it’s really no wonder why it will keep mothers from falling asleep or from staying asleep and might even trigger the cause of insomnia.

This is particularly true to first time mothers. For most, getting a sound sleep becomes even harder once the baby is born. In response to this concern, the need for them to practice healthy sleep hygiene is a must.

It is very important for pregnant women to prioritize sleep and to find effective strategies for managing their sleep problems as early as possible in their pregnancy. Being sleep-deprived is a very serious matter for expectant mothers. It can make pregnancy worse enough that the stress it can give could lead to serious illnesses and complications.

When someone suffers from sleep disturbances, there is an overproduction of cytokines in response to the agitation of the body’s inflammatory responses.  These macro-molecules serve as signal ends for immune cell’s communications. Apparently, when someone has a lot of these molecules, they usually attack the other healthy cells and destroy the tissues that allow the pregnant woman to be devoid of diseases. And this can certainly affect the future of the pregnancy itself. On times when the delivery is about to happen and the need for a strong immune system is eminent, this is where the complications become more apparent.

Expectant mothers must recognize if they already have a sleeping problem. Most of the time, the symptoms for this are:

  • Insomnia – symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early or feeling unrefreshed.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS) – symptoms of RLS include unpleasant feelings in the legs, sometimes described as creepy, tingly or achy.
  • Sleep apnea – sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep.
  • Nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux (nighttime GERD) – GERD, also known as heartburn, is considered a normal part of pregnancy.
  • Frequent nighttime urination – the frequent need to urinate at night is a common feature of pregnancy and can result in loss of sleep.

The treatment for these problems is indeed complicated due the fact that drug-administered therapies pose a threat to the developing fetus. So the best remedy for it is to cope up with it and establish a discipline on having a good sleeping habit. Good sleeping habits include:

  • Planning, scheduling and prioritizing sleep.
  • Trying to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Sleeping on the left side to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to the fetus and to the uterus and kidneys.
  • Drinking lots of fluids during the day, especially water, but cut down on the amount on the hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid eating large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried foods.
  • Evaluating iron or folate deficiency.

You can also try herbal remedies, aroma therapy, Bach flower remedies, homeopathy ad many other things.

Pregnancy is a very fragile state and it must be taken care of to avoid any cases of complications that might endanger the life of the fetus. We must neglect the essentials especially sleeping. A disciplined pregnancy will eventually lead to a healthier child. So for mothers, eat, exercise and sleep well.


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