Just let me sleep!

Mother & Baby
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sleeping during pregnancy. Image: Getty
If you can't get comfy in the midwife-recommended position (on your left side to boost the blood supply to your baby), try putting one between your legs to prevent backache and one under your bump for support.
Mother & Baby

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If one more person suggests that your sleepless nights are good preparation for when the baby arrives, you're going to thump them, right? Sleep is hard to come by in pregnancy, but don't despair — there are ways to (finally) get some good shut eye!

Bump bother

Your bump makes sleep fairly elusive: you can't lie on your front, and if you lie on your back your uterus presses on your blood vessels and you'll feel sick and dizzy. If you can't get comfy in the midwife-recommended position (on your left side to boost the blood supply to your baby), try putting one between your legs to prevent backache and one under your bump for support.

Mind matters

It's a well-known fact that all the things you've been too busy to think about during the day start preying on your mind at night. Will you be a good mum? How will you cope financially? And what did the midwife mean when she said the baby was small for dates? A bit of reassurance will ease your mind, so talk over any concerns with your partner, mum or best friend before bed.

Top tip

Have a warm bath before bed. It raises your body temperature slightly, and as it drops again you'll find it easier to fall asleep.

Itchy feet?

About 15% of pregnant women suffer from restless legs, a burning, tingling feeling that tends to kick in at night. The cause is unknown and there aren't any pregnancy-safe medications to treat it. Some women say eating carbohydrates late in the day makes the problem worse, and it may be linked to anaemia (an iron deficiency), so it's worth getting your midwife to check you over.

Night-time leg cramps are also common in the second and third trimesters. Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day can ward them off, but if they kick in, massaging the muscle or holding a hot-water bottle against it may help.

Try this simple stretching exercise, too: stand about 60cm away from the wall, rest your palms against it, and lean forward, bending your elbows and keeping your heels flat on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat two or three times.

Top tip

Drink a glass of milk before bed. It contains an amino acid called l-tryptophan, which induces feelings of sleepiness.

Burn, baby, burn

Heartburn can be a real nuisance in pregnancy and it's usually worse at night. To keep it at bay, aim to eat dinner at least three hours before bed and avoid spicy food, citrus fruits, chocolate and caffeine if you need a bedtime snack, keep it plain. Propping yourself up on pillows can also make the stomach acids that cause heartburn stay down, and it might be worth keeping some safe-for-pregnancy antacids by the bed.

Toilet traumas

From the earliest stages of pregnancy, your growing uterus and baby put pressure on your bladder, and your kidneys are doing overtime, too. The result? Never-ending toilet trips. You need lots of fluids to avoid dehydrating, but try to drink them early in the day and cut back in the evening. Steer clear of caffeine, which makes you wee more, and lean forward when you're on the loo to help your bladder empty completely, which will increase the time between pit stops.

Zzzzz

Not very ladylike, we know, but pregnancy can make you snore like a steam train. Your airways may become more congested, making it harder (and noisier) to breathe. Sleeping with your head well elevated on lots of pillows may help, and sprinkling a few drops of lavender oil on them can clear a stuffy nose. Try to keep a window open if it's warm enough. And don't sleep with your head under the covers it can make you even more bunged up (although it might muffle the sound of your snoring for your long-suffering partner!).

Weird dreams what do they mean?
Whether they're heart-warming, terrifying or downright bizarre, dreams are healthy, normal and no indication of your ability to look after a baby. Here's what the most common pregnancy dreams are trying to tell you.

Leaving your baby on the bus
You're feeling a bit unprepared and anxious about being a mother.

Being attacked or injuring yourself
You're pretty vulnerable right now and you need some TLC.

Being trapped or locked in
You're worried about being responsible for a baby and losing your freedom.

Your partner leaving you
You're insecure about your figure and whether your partner still fancies you.

Your newborn being able to walk or talk
You're hoping your baby will be intelligent and are ambitious for him.

Giving birth to a piglet
You're worrying about a strange new creature coming into your life.

Looking after a kitten or other cuddly pet
You're practising parenting in your sleep.

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