Sleeping By the Trimesters: 1st Trimester

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Women in America are getting less sleep according to NSF's annual polls and they report more sleep problems, too. But these problems pale in comparison to the sleep disruptions that occur with pregnancy.

Hayley, a former web site producer, was used to jumping out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and heading into the office. Hayley's after-work life was filled with museum trips, concerts and dinner with friends. But as soon as she was pregnant, everything changed. With complaints of vomiting, nausea and exhaustion in the first trimester, she could barely make it through the day without desperately needing a nap. Although the second trimeste r offered her some relief, she soon realized that she would only feel more fatigued in the third trimester .

Why do women feel so tired throughout pregnancy? If nausea, back pain, fetal movement and constantly running to the ladies' room aren't enough, some women develop restless legs syndrome (RLS), snoring, wild dreams and insomnia. In the National Sleep Foundation 1998 Women and Sleep poll, 78% of women reported more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times.

While mothers do not deny that the pay-off of having a child outweighs the lack of energy or sleep they experience during pregnancy, it helps to understand why this is happening to your body, what you can expect and what you can do to ease the process.

1st Trimester

The first trimester is a mix of excitement and surprises, especially for women who have never been pregnant. Between adjusting to the changes mentally and physically, some women feel great and others feel horrible. Listed below you will find some of the reasons why sleep becomes a challenge in your first trimester. In addition to weathering the effects of the first trimester, Dr. Kathryn Lee of the University of California at San Francisco recommends that first-time mothers plan for sleep the way they plan and schedule the rest of their lives. In a study of first time mothers vs. experienced mothers, the experienced ones got an extra 45 minutes to an hour of sleep each night.