How Many Hours Should a Pregnant Woman Sleep: Pregnancy is indeed a magical time. However, the sleep cycle during these 9 months may be less than dreamy. Body aches, growing belly, pain, and heartburn can leave you exhausted and irritated. In fact, most women go through multiple sleepless nights prior to there is a crying and hungry baby in the picture.
Interestingly, the number of hours you sleep during pregnancy not only affects you but also your baby. In fact, it can also impact your labor & delivery too.
Improper sleep during pregnancy is associated with lots of complications, even including preeclampsia, a condition that affects your kidneys and blood pressure severely. This condition can also result in premature birth.
There are valid reasons to take your sleep seriously. Now, this brings us to a very common question—how many hours should a pregnant woman sleep? Before we tell you that, know a few things.
Benefits of Sleep During Pregnancy
Getting a good night’s sleep when you are pregnant can help with these:
- Processes all the bodily & hormonal changes
- Boosts your immune system
- Enhances the way your brain functions
- Gets rid of fatigue and makes you feel energetic
- Reduces the risk of birth complications
- Reduces morning sickness
- Eases the leg cramps
- Prevents snoring and anxiety
- Helps overcome the problem of frequent discomfort
- Soothes physical discomfort (back pain & tender breasts)
Read More: How to pick the best mattress for pregnant women? Our experts advise.
How Many Hours Should a Pregnant Woman Sleep?
According to this study, first-time moms who get only 6 hours of sleep or even less are not just 4.5 times likely to have a caesarean section but also their average labor length tend to be 10 hours or more compared to first-time moms who sleep 7+ hours.
On that note, let’s learn how many hours a pregnant woman should sleep in every trimester.
1. Sleep during the first trimester
In the first trimester, it is important to get 8-10 hours of sound sleep. Even a small 30-minute or 1-hour nap in the daytime is good. Either way, additional 1-2 hours of sleep is often necessary.
During the early months of pregnancy, the progesterone levels rise significantly, which won’t just make one to feel drowsy but also be accompanied with frequent urge to urinate, leading to disrupted sleep.
On the other hand, there are even women that tend to get a considerable amount of sleep when their placenta grows. Do not be surprised if you see yourself feeling sleepy all the time or wanting to go to bed a little early or take frequent naps. During this phase, give into this sleep crave, and doze off whenever your body needs it.
2. Sleep during the second trimester
In the second trimester, it is vital to get a full 8 hours of sleep. While sleeping, make sure to lie on your side with hips and knees bent. Keep a pillow behind your back and another in between your knees to make sure that you are comfortable.
The sleep you get in the second trimester normalizes to what you used to get in the first trimester. However, as the abdomen and the baby grows, a few things can begin to affect sleep like waking up to use the restroom.
The steep hormonal changes that occurred in the early months now begin to level off in the 2nd trimester. While leg cramps are quite normal to occur in the night, some pregnant women (if they are anemic or have lower iron levels) can suffer restless legs syndrome in the evening time. This can become severe in the next trimester.
Heartburn is yet another common problem, which can keep a pregnant woman up at night. When the uterus becomes bigger and the pregnancy progresses, it might press on the stomach, which gives a burning sensation.
Hence, sleeping comfortably on the left side along with knees bent might be a healthy position. Some women can also sleep with bed heads elevated or perhaps, propping their heads onto more pillows in order to ease down the heartburn’s acid backwash.
3. Sleep during the third trimester
In the third trimester, the body undergoes a huge change, followed by pregnancy discomforts. This makes it difficult for a pregnant woman to sleep for a longer time. Hence, it is required to be in the bed for 8 hours so that they can at least get 7 hours of sound sleep.
In the later days of pregnancy, most women report to have a disturbed sleep and that’s true too. The number of early morning and nighttime awakenings increase than mid-pregnancy. Since the belly increases drastically and the fetus becomes more active and larger, it is important for a pregnant woman to sleep in any position that she feels comfortable in.
But never ever lay on the stomach because the uterus is heavy and it can press the spinal nerves and on the major vein, which carries blood to the heart and the lower body.
The Sleep Foundation advises a pregnant woman to sleep on the left side, as this improves blood flow. Use as many pillows as you want to stay comfortable.
How to Get Good Sleep During Pregnancy?
The steps mentioned below will help you to manage the sleep disturbances when you are pregnant.
- Keep the space calm: A quiet, calm, and relaxed environment with the right temperature sets the mood to sleep better. Also, sleeping and waking up at the same time every day can improve the overall sleep health. Make sure that you don’t have any electronic devices in the bedroom.
- Sleep on a good mattress: Having a comfortable mattress is crucial when you are pregnant. Though there are different types of mattresses to choose from, National Sleep Foundation recommends using a high-quality memory foam mattress with nice, comfortable layers to support the pressure points and reduce body pain during pregnancy.
- Be active. Do exercises: Physical activity is vital during pregnancy, as this helps to sleep easily.
- Eat healthy to prevent heartburn: Besides practising physical and breathing exercises, eat frequently and in smaller proportions. Never eat 3 hours before your bedtime.
- Sleep on the left side: Never sleep on your back, as this can put your entire uterus’s weight on the spine & back muscles. Use pillows to keep yourself comfortable.
If you have trouble sleeping even after trying all the tricks during pregnancy, meet a gynecologist immediately.