Sept 14, 2021
Why it's more important to get sleep when you're pregnant
Written By: Lexi Coerver
When I found out I was pregnant, I'm pretty sure the first thing I did (while waiting for my husband to get home and I could share the news) was start Googling...umm...everything about being pregnant. I'd downloaded at least 3 or 4 pregnancy-related apps, researched 7 different baby registries, and checked my profile in the mirror more than once for any signs of my new "bump." What I should have done was take a nap.
Seriously. Five years and two pregnancies later, the one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is that sleep is going to look totally different from here on out. Like, for forever. The patterns, rhythms, amount of sleep you get...it all changes. The good news is you've got time, right now, to prepare. We've compiled some real data on the subject, along with some personal offerings for getting you and your bump over the sleep hump.
Why it is important to get good sleep when you're pregnant.
Getting a good night's rest is packed with all kinds of amazing benefits, right? This is not groundbreaking news. Mental clarity, improved physical health, clear skin, and balanced emotions are just a few of the bonuses that come from getting quality shut-eye. On the other hand, not logging enough hours can put you at risk for some pretty severe health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. While you are going through all these pregnancy body changes, it's even more important to get those winks in. Research shows that not getting adequate sleep during pregnancy could put you at a higher risk for complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, prolonged labor, and a higher C-section delivery rate. So, I think it's safe to say, now is the time to prioritize some healthy sleep habits if you haven't already. It's one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your baby.
“Trust me, in the days to come, a good sleep schedule is often your best friend.”
Getting that "good sleep" when you're snoozing for two.
Getting adequate sleep may not have been a breeze before you were pregnant. Throw in shifting hormones and the crazy pregnancy body changes that come with your all-inclusive pregnancy package, and you've really got your work cut out for you. While every person and every pregnancy is unique, most women experience sleep-related challenges at some point during pregnancy. Developing healthy sleep hygiene is one of the best ways to cope with those restless nights. Here are some tips for making sure you get those all-important z's:
Prioritize sleep and stick to a consistent bedtime. Listen to your body and nap when you are fatigued. If possible, schedule those siestas earlier in the day and consider setting a timer to prevent late daytime snoozing, which could interfere with nighttime sleep. For nights, I put a bedtime reminder on my phone that pinged me when it was time to wind down. Trust me, in the days to come, a good sleep schedule is often your best friend.
Have a ritual that relaxes you to help you prepare for bed. Take a bath, read a book, listen to music, write in a journal, hang out with your partner, do whatever it is that will help you relax and settle in for a good night's sleep.
Find some pregnancy-safe exercises you enjoy and do them earlier in the day, and of course, with your doctor's consent. Including regular exercise and a good prenatal vitamin as part of your daily routine will help you feel more energized during the day and help you sleep better at night.
Turn off your devices. Resist the urge to lay in bed endlessly scrolling and pinning all the things for your picture-perfect nursery. Leave the electronics in another room if possible. You'll be surprised how relaxing it is to not have the distraction of lights, buzzes, and pings disrupting you as you drift off to sleep.
Having a baby is no easy task, so take time to pamper yourself. Book a spa treatment, take a babymoon, or give that tummy some lovin' with a luxe new belly butter. You can’t pour from an empty cup, Mamma. Implementing some well-deserved self-care is one of the best (and most enjoyable) ways to help you relax and recharge.
As your due date approaches, it may seem like your to-do list is growing even more than your belly. But right now, the most important thing is the health of you and your baby. Prioritizing rest and maintaining healthy sleep habits will pay dividends throughout your pregnancy and well into motherhood. Try to remember, as you lay your head on your pillow, this is temporary! Yes, the journey can feel really long and is sometimes really uncomfortable. But trust me, before you know it, your baby will be here, and all these pregnancy woes will be but a memory. Take this moment in time to connect with your body, your baby, your partner... and lean into it, sister.
Now, go on and get yourself a nap.