That extra sleep can help make pregnancy a more positive experience. Novice moms may feel less energetic and should schedule an allowance for more sleep.
Sleepy or Lacking Energy
Interestingly, the rise of progesterone, one of the hormones essential for the maintenance of pregnancy, may be one of the reasons pregnant women feel drowsier than before they were pregnant. The soporific (sleep-inducing) and thermogenic (heat-producing) effects of high progesterone secretion from the placenta are known to cause fatigue and earlier sleep onset. In the study "Longitudinal Changes in Sleep Architecture During Pregnancy and Postpartum," Dr.
Lee was able to study a group of women before they were pregnant, during their pregnancy and for three months postpartum. During their first trimester, she found an increase in total sleep time but poorer quality sleep due to awakening during the night. She also found a decrease in deep sleep from pre-pregnancy to the first trimester. "The women didn't say, 'I had 10% less delta sleep last night,' but they did complain of feeling fatigued, drowsy, and even depressed. They experienced the sleep loss in a variety of ways," Lee says.
Discomfort with Body Changes
Melissa, a first time mother, told us, "I loved how my body looked as it was changing but my breasts became uncomfortably tender." As the body changes, discomfort can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Complaints of tender breasts may make sleeping on your stomach a challenge. Dr. Jodi Mindell, professor of psychology at St. Joseph's University and of pediatrics at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine explained in an article for Babycenter.com, "Your first trimester is the perfect time to start training yourself to sleep on your left side to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your fetus and uterus and to help your kidneys get rid of waste and fluids. The sooner you get used to this position, the better you'll be able to sleep when your belly is bulging."
Progesterone isn't just making pregnant women drowsy; this necessary hormone is also partially responsible for that never-ending quest for a bathroom.