The third trimester of pregnancy can be a very exciting time full of anticipation, but it can also be an exhausting final stretch of discomfort. Here are some tips on making your last few months of pregnancy a bit more bearable (and restful) as recommended by babycenter.com:
- If you just cannot get comfortable, there are a few ways to keep yourself from tossing and turning all night long. Remember that sleeping on your left side is recommended, and you should not lie on your back for extended periods. If your belly is getting in the way of a great night’s sleep, try using pillows to ease the stress on your back: place one under your abdomen, one between your knees, and one against your back. You can also add a mattress topper to your existing bed to make it softer and more comfortable.
- Heartburn and acid reflux can be a constant companion for many pregnant women. Besides just avoiding those trigger foods that can bring on the condition, you can use gravity to keep that acid in your stomach. Try propping yourself up in an inclined position with pillows, or use a wedge or adjustable bed. As a last resort, a recliner can also be comfortable, but remember that the support won’t be as good as if you were sleeping in a regular bed.
- Swollen hands and feet can also be uncomfortable at bed time. Elevating your extremities can help drain the fluid and return your limbs to normal size. This can be done with pillows, or with an adjustable bed (just don’t raise the foot too high, just a few inches will keep the fluid out, while keeping you comfortable on your side).
- Other issues can keep you up at night, like hunger or the need to urinate. So that you don’t interrupt your rest cycle, avoid drinking in the evening, and have a snack before bed. If you do need to get up to eat or go to the restroom, install night lights so that you don’t have to turn on a bright light that could wake you up even more.
- Restless leg syndrome is common during pregnancy, and is related to iron deficiency. Remember that your body is giving all the good stuff to your baby, and your body might be lacking in some nutrients! Speak to your doctor about adding an extra supplement, or changing your prenatal vitamins.
- Snoring and sleep apnea are also common for pregnant women, due to the weight increase that carrying a baby brings. Make sure that you are sleeping on your side, and that you’re using the proper sized pillow. If sleep apnea is the problem, make sure that you see your doctor as soon as possible.
- The body can be more sensitive when pregnant, and any movement in the bed or even in the room can wake a pregnant woman from her slumber. Instead of throwing things at your partner, consider sleeping in separate bedrooms, or investing in a mattress that keeps motion separate, such as a Simmons Beautyrest or Comforpedic memory foam bed.
- Vivid dreams can be present at any stage of pregnancy, but they can be even more dominant and scary when you’re in your third trimester. If these dreams are keeping you from sleeping or are leaving you feeling less than rested, try journaling both your dreams and your feelings before bed. Compartmentalize any anxiety that you may be feeling, and try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation before bed.
It’s important to get as much sleep as possible in the last few weeks before giving birth. Your body will need all of its energy stores to get through labor and delivery, and you will probably be very sleep deprived once the baby arrives. Take these last few months to focus on taking care of yourself (and by doing so, your baby), and place sleep as a top priority.