Sleeping By the Trimesters: 3rd Trimester

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a warning sign, especially if it is in combination with severe daytime sleepiness, headaches and swollen legs. Dr. Jennifer Santiago of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York Presbyterian Hospital, explained, "A recent study of 502 women reported that snoring pregnant women had a twofold greater incidence of hypertension, preeclampsia, and intrauterine growth restriction than did non-snorers."

Leg Cramps and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

The National Sleep Foundation's 1998 Omnibus Sleep in America poll showed that up to 15 percent of pregnant women develop restless legs syndrome during the third trimester. The symptoms include crawling or uncomfortable feelings in the foot, calf or upper leg, momentarily disrupting sleep. Moving your legs can stop these symptoms temporarily, but the irritation returns when the limb is still.

Another study by Dr. Lee, "Restless legs syndrome and sleep disturbance during pregnancy: The role of folate and iron" looked at the likelihood of developing RLS during pregnancy. Dr. Kryger explains, "Those who developed restless legs syndrome were found to be iron deficient and/or folic acid deficient before becoming pregnant. So common sense mandates that women who develop RLS during pregnancy have their iron status checked by a doctor." The good news is that for most women, according to Dr. Kryger, restless legs syndrome goes away with childbirth.

Leg cramps in the lower leg muscles are fairly common in the second and third trimester. These painful spasms tend to occur at night and may disrupt your sleep. Leg cramps are believed to be caused by an excess of phosphorous and a shortage of calcium circulating in your blood system. trimester

Third Trimester Survival Tips

  • Sleep on your left side. This allows for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. Try to avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time.
  • Try using a special "pregnancy" pillow to help you sleep better.
  • If you are experiencing leg cramps you may want to avoid carbonated sodas and drinks.
  • If you start snoring, have your blood pressure and urine protein checked—especially if you have swollen ankles and headaches.
  • If you