Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as heartburn, is a widespread pregnancy and sleep dilemma. Alleviate the symptoms of heartburn by avoiding fried or spicy foods, instead eating high-protein, low-fat meals. Refrain from eating two to three hours before bedtime. Over-the-counter antacids can work, but check with your doctor before use. Try breaking up your three big meals throughout the day into six smaller ones for easier digestion.
In addition, elevating the head of your bed aids in naturally avoiding acid reflux. You can do this by putting blocks under the posts at the head of the bed, or by using lots of comfortable pillows.
During your pregnancy, you may often find yourself having to get up in the middle of the night to make a trip to the bathroom. Hormonal changes and increases in blood volume mean more fluid moving faster through your kidneys, filling your bladder more often. Later in pregnancy, your growing uterus puts further pressure on your bladder.
The importance of staying hydrated means drinking a lot of water, but the time of day you drink it makes a lot of difference in getting a good night’s sleep. Load up throughout the day, but stop around 4 p.m. From then on, only drink small amounts when thirsty. This way, you should sleep with fewer bathroom interruptions.
The weight gain associated with pregnancy may cause sleep apnea, a common disorder characterized by interrupted or shallow breathing during sleep. Untreated, sleep apnea not only wakes you through the night, but increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and, in pregnant women, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
For a minor case of sleep apnea, use of a special mouth guard that helps with breathing alleviates the symptoms and lets you get a full night’s rest. For more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe you a CPAP machine that utilizes a mask to help you breathe continuously through the night.
Other Helpful Tips
The Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences offers a number of other helpful suggestions for getting good sleep while pregnant:
- Exercising at least 30 minutes a day, four to six hours before bedtime
- Avoiding TV, computers, and mobile devices while in bed
- Avoiding caffeine
- Getting treatment for anxiety and other mood disorders if necessary
Sleeping while pregnant can be difficult, but if you take the right steps, you’ll get the rest you need for a healthy you and a healthy baby.
About The Author:
Hilary Thompson is a freelance writer specializing in health and wellness. She’s been featured in publications like Reader’s Digest, BestLife, Purpose Fairy, and Today. She specializes in senior health, family sleep issues, and sleep disorders, but frequently covers a variety of topics ranging from fitness to family dynamics. A mother of two, she lives in Utah with her family and French Bulldog named Stella.