Back Pain

Why You Won’t Sleep Like a Baby

By DUX Design, AB  •  April 9, 2015

Back pain is almost assured during pregnancy — studies show between 50 to 70 percent of all pregnant women will suffer pain in their lower back. As the weight of the fetus increases, your center of gravity shifts forward. To compensate for this shift in your posture, you naturally lean back, which places stress on the muscles in your lower back, causing soreness and pain.

Furthermore, constantly changing hormone levels during pregnancy can cause a wide range of sleep issues — everything from daytime sleepiness to insomnia at night.



The Roller Coaster Begins its Ascent
Rising progesterone levels can cause overwhelming daytime sleepiness. Nausea, commonly called “Morning Sickness,” begins for many, but for a significant subset, the illness will strike randomly, even at night. Insomnia may also occur during the first trimester, often as a symptom of anxieties born from worrying over balancing motherhood and work, the changing status of your relationship with your partner, or the health of your baby.

Image of Father and Baby Sleeping.




The Calm Before the Storm
During the second trimester, with nausea subsiding and hormones leveling off, many women find relief and rest. Experts encourage expecting mothers to enjoy the second trimester, and to get as much sleep as possible rather than resuming an active activities while feeling more normal.




Pass the Pillows We Need More Sleep
The third trimester is the most sleep challenged stage of pregnancy. With increased frequency of urination, inability to get comfortable, and exhaustion from trying to keep up with the demands of daily life, many women find themselves struggling to stay awake. Back pain, muscle aches, and general discomfort generally mark the third trimester as the body prepares for birth.




Say Hello to Sleep Deprivation
For most women, getting a full night’s sleep becomes even harder once the baby is born. It is very important for pregnant women to prioritize sleep and to find effective strategies for managing their sleep problems as early as possible in their pregnancy.

According to a Women and Sleep poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at any other period of their life. 

Short on Sleep. Long on Labor.
A study by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco found that women who slept fewer than 6 hours per-night had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have cesarean deliveries. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that doctors discuss both sleep quantity and sleep quality with their pregnant patients.

The Best Sleep Position
Pregnant women should sleep on their side, with their knees and hips bent, with a pillow between the knees to alleviate lower back pressure. Also, sleeping on your left side improves the flow of blood and nutrients to your fetus as well as to your uterus and kidneys. Try to avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time.

Burn, Baby, Burn
Nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), commonly called nighttime heartburn, is considered a normal part of pregnancy. However, symptoms of GERD can be so irritating to the esophagus that it disrupts sleep during pregnancy. As a first line of defense, sleeping with your head elevated on pillows and sticking to bland foods during the day may help.

Wake up! You’re having a baby!
Studies have shown that during the third trimester, up-to 97.3% of women wake up on average of 3.11 times each night.

Were you expecting to sleep?
According to a Women and Sleep poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at any other period of their life.

Running in Your Sleep
In a study of over 600 pregnant women, 26% reported symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), a condition marked by tingly or achy sensations in the legs that usually worsens at night. RLS is characterized by involuntary movement of the legs, usually in the form or twitching.

Snore Alert!
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. A noticeable feature of sleep apnea is heavy snoring accompanied by long pauses, and then gasping or choking during sleep. This is particularly true of women who are overweight when they become pregnant. Sleep apnea may also be associated with complications during pregnancy such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, or low birth weight. It is also associated with more daytime sleepiness compared to women who do not have sleep apnea during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and feel you may suffer from sleep apnea, it is very important that you talk to your doctor.

Back to Normal…Maybe
The good news about most of the sleep problems experienced by pregnant women is that they tend to go away once the baby is born, but women should still pay close attention to their sleep after they give birth as new sleep problems may arise.

The Informed Sleeper endeavors to become your sole information resource for better health through deeper sleep.

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