Sleeplessness during pregnancy - causes and remedies
Since I got pregnant I can�t seem to stay asleep longer than a couple hours. Is this normal?
Yes, unfortunately, many expectant moms have sleeping trouble.
There are some common causes for sleeplessness while pregnant. Feeling the need to empty your bladder is a big one. And you may be surprised to you find that there wasn�t much there to begin with. While pregnant the amount of blood in your body increases dramatically, which leads to extra fluid getting processed through your kidneys and ending up in your bladder. When you lie on your side to sleep, some of the fluid you retained during the day makes its way back into your bloodstream and eventually into your bladder. Also, there are lots of physical changes happening in the area around your bladder, the most significant being your uterus displacing the extra space your bladder used to have to get full. You can expect to need to urinate frequently throughout your pregnancy, both day and night.
Another major cause is just plain being uncomfortable. As your body grows, your baby kicks, and your heart beats so loud you think it will wake the neighbors (actually the blood flow to baby), you will likely find sleeping uncomfortable. You may have to start sleeping in new positions. You may be too hot or too cold, your muscles (particularly leg and back) may be sore or have cramps. Just being uncomfortable can affect your sleep.
Some pregnant moms also experience vivid dreams that can cause wakefulness. This is normal and you can blame it on the dramatic surges of hormones (progesterone) and that dreaming is our way of processing our thoughts and feelings from the day. Your anticipation, excitement and fear may be heightened in your waking world and so that may appear in your dreams.
Later in your pregnancy, heartburn or indigestion can plague you, especially at bedtime. As your uterus grows, your internal organs get shifted around and your stomach gets pushed on from underneath. Bedtime can be especially bad for this issue because you are digesting slower, thanks again to the progesterone, your stomach may be cramped and the little flap between your esophagus and stomach may have trouble staying closed allowing a recently ingested meal (and all the acid that goes with it) to get forced back up, causing pain. Also aiding in this intestinal perfect storm is hunger that may lead to late night snacking, and gravity as you go from a generally vertical to horizontal position. By the way, some expectant moms have never have never had heartburn the likes of this before pregnancy and it can be frightening and painful if you get a bad bout of it. More than a few expectant moms have said to their husband that they thought they were having a heart attack!
The last common culprit for sleeping issues is obsessive thinking, planning or worrying about the impending birth. Every mom�s situation is different, but almost all expectant moms get a bit obsessive about the arrival of a child. From the practical stuff such as getting every detail of the baby�s room ready, to the more existential questions of how will I know what to do and will I be a good mom, we all have those thoughts and the quiet time in bed is often when those thoughts seem to circulate.
Benadryl and Unisom are in a class of medicines that studies show will not affect your baby. However, definitely speak to your doctor to find out if taking these is right for you and your circumstances, and what the proper dosage and frequency is for you.