Pregnancy and Sleep

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  • to avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time.
  • Drink lots of fluids during the day, especially water, but cut down on the amount you drink in the hours before bedtime.
  • In order to avoid heartburn, do not eat large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried foods. Also, eat frequent small meals throughout the day.
  • Snoring is very common during pregnancy, but if you have pauses in your breathing associated with your snoring, you should be screened for sleep apnea. Also, have your blood pressure and urine protein checked—especially if you have swollen ankles or headaches.
  • If you develop RLS, you should be evaluated for iron or folate deficiency.
  • If you can't sleep, don't lie in bed forcing yourself to sleep. Get up and read a book, knit or crochet something for your baby, write in a journal, or take a warm bath.
  • When sleeping, lie on your left side with your knees and hips bent. Place pillows between your knees, under your abdomen and behind your back. This may take pressure off your lower back.
  • Put a nightlight in the bathroom instead of turning on the light to use the bathroom — this will be less arousing and help you return to sleep more quickly.
  • Add daytime naps as necessary, but reduce them or nap earlier in the day if you have difficulty falling asleep at night.

POLL DATA:

The National Sleep Foundation's 1998 Women and Sleep poll found that 78% of women reported more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times and that up to 15 percent of women develop restless legs syndrome (RLS) during their third trimester of pregnancy. The poll also found that that 51% of pregnant or recently pregnant women reported at least one weekday nap; 60% reported at least one weekend nap.