Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sleep in the second trimester

You should enjoy better sleep in your second trimester. By now your body will be adjusting to pregnancy and you may not feel as tired as you did in the first trimester.

What might disturb my sleep?
Although sleep will come easier, there’ll still be the odd disturbance at night. Leg cramps, weird dreams and having a blocked nose are all common sleep-busters.

Aside from these pregnancy niggles, your hormone levels are stabilising and rest will come easier as a result. Your uterus (womb) has moved up out of the pelvis, taking the pressure off your bladder. This means you'll have fewer night-time trips to the loo.

Morning sickness has hopefully passed by the time you reach 14 to 16 weeks. But some women suffer from nausea or vomiting throughout their pregnancy.

As your pregnancy progresses you may also find you start to have a touch of heartburn and indigestion during the night.

You may also notice your baby becoming more active in the evenings. Typically, he’ll start kicking and squirming just as you're settling down for the night.

How can I sleep better?
Switch to sleeping on your left side

This is a more comfortable position for you as your bump grows bigger. After 16 weeks of pregnancy, sleeping on your back isn't such a good idea, because your baby is pressing on your blood vessels.

Try lying on your left, with your knees bent up and two or more pillows placed between your knees to keep you comfortable. This keeps the pressure off the muscles around your hips and pelvis.

One small study has suggested that women who go to sleep on their left side are less likely to have a stillborn baby than those that sleep in any other position.

However, we don't understand what exactly causes stillbirth and many factors are involved. This study only looked at sleep-related factors, such as snoring, getting up to go the loo, as well as sleeping position. More research is needed into sleep patterns before we can draw any firm conclusions over sleeping positions.

If you wake up in the night and find yourself lying on your back, just turn over to your left side again to go back to sleep. You could try using pillows to help prop you onto your left side and to stop you rolling onto your back at night.

Get into a routine

Try to have a regular bedtime. Although it's tempting, it's best not to have long lie-ins in the morning. You'll only find it harder to nod off at night.

Wind down at the end of the day

Take some time to relax as night-time approaches. Don't do strenuous exercise or watch a scary film just before turning in. Have a bath, a warm milky drink, or read a book. Do whatever helps you to relax at night and try to repeat the same pattern each evening.

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