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Health & Pregnancy

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Insomnia During Pregnancy

Remember when you used to shut off your bedroom light and drift right to sleep? Now that you're pregnant, getting eight to nine straight hours of blissful slumber may seem like a distant dream.

If it's not the nagging pressure on your bladder that's keeping you awake, then it's the gnawing backache or leg cramps, or sheer inability to get comfortable in a bed that once gently cradled you to sleep.

What makes pregnancy insomnia even harder to handle? It's knowing that now is the time when you need sleep the most. Once your baby arrives, a good night's rest will be even harder to come by.

Why Sleep Troubles Now?

Why are you having so much trouble sleeping during your pregnancy? You can put the blame on:

  • Backaches. As your center of gravity shifts forward, your back muscles overcompensate and become sore as a result. Plus, your ligaments loosen thanks to pregnancy hormones, making you more likely to hurt your back.
  • Gas. Pregnancy hormones slow digestion, making you feel bloated and gassy.
  • Heartburn. Those same hormones also relax muscles in your digestive tract, making it easier for stomach acids to burn their way back up your esophagus.
  • Leg cramps and restless legs. Changes in your circulation and pressure from the baby on nerves and muscles can make your legs cramp up. You may also get a creepy-crawly feeling in your legs known as restless legs syndrome.
  • Shortness of breath. Your growing uterus is also putting pressure on your diaphragm, which sits just under your lungs. This pressure can make it hard to catch your breath.
  • Snoring. Your nasal passages may swell up during pregnancy, causing snoring. Extra pressure from your growing girth can also make snoring worse. Changes like these may briefly block breathing over and over during sleep (sleep apnea).
  • Anxiety. You've got a lot to think about right now with baby on the way. The many thoughts and worries spinning through your head can keep you from sleep.

Don't Ignore Sleep Problems

It's important to address pregnancy insomnia. Your body needs rest right now to care for your growing baby. Plus, a lack of sleep could make you more likely to have a longer labor and a C-section delivery. It may also make you more vulnerable to depression after you deliver. Untreated sleep apnea may also lead to pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, and sleep problems for your baby after birth.

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