Insomnia during pregnancy is an issue faced by many women, especially in the last months before childbirth. Insomnia may be a less common problem, caused by physical discomfort or stress, or it may be chronic, constant over a certain period of time. If you consume yourself with different thoughts, worries, fears, you get tired with various domestic and professional tasks, you cannot find a comfortable position to sleep and wake up frequently to urinate, this is when insomnia occurs and it can be extremely irritating and exhausting.
The causes underlying the occurrence of insomnia during pregnancy may be linked to the physical factors, as well as the mental and emotional factors. Among the physical causes that cause sleep problems, we include the constant need to urinate. Because of pressure in the uterus, you always feel your bladder full and very often feel the need to go to the toilet, as almost every pregnant woman. If you drink just a cup of tea before bed, you might feel the need to go to the bathroom three or four times during that night.
Another physical cause is the difficulty to find your comfortable position to sleep so you wake up because of muscle pain. Your body now has another form, so most likely you cannot sleep in your old favorite sleeping position. The position of your partner can also create you a discomfort, for it is hard to move if he stays glued to you or you do not want to wake him up. Try all the possible positions until you find a comfortable enough one, and buy large and comfortable pajamas. Other physical causes of insomnia during pregnancy are related to the normal discomforts during the nine months: constipation and gastrointestinal disorders; it’s hard to sleep especially if you feel bloated or have heartburn. Nausea or dizziness may prevent you, too, to enjoy a healthy portion of sleep. The fact that you can start snoring (snoring caused by increased blood flow in the nasal mucosa) does not help you with anything!
But there are also some psycho-emotional causes that can trigger insomnia during pregnancy: the emotions you are going through, the worries for your baby’s health and the stress due to your body changes, fear of labor, the fear that you won’t handle the delivery and other confusing emotions can cause mental exhaustion that lead to lack of sleep. Many times, if you deal with many concerns and fears, you may have bad dreams or even nightmares that will prevent you to rest properly.
Therefore, it is so important to be prepared when you make the huge step, to think twice before you decide that you want to become a mother; but even if you wish a lot for a baby, you’re bound to pass through all kind of confusing emotions, worries and fears, which is absolutely normal. Do not think that something is wrong with you, it is natural to worry and be sad sometimes. If you do not exhaust yourself with frustration and instead realize that you have to go easy on yourself, you will pass more easily over the negative emotions.
Remember that during this period, your mental balance is fragile and you will have to handle various changing emotions. The support, closeness and understanding of the spouse is of great importance, because together with him you can get rid of some worries. Do not go through this alone – you have your lover, the future father of your child! So, communicate your worries and negative emotions, do not keep them just for you!
Insomnia during pregnancy is risky, because sometimes it can be associated with a big depression! Unfortunately, many women today are experiencing depression during pregnancy and postnatal depressions. Daily problems bother them, and this adds to fears that they won’t be good mothers,as well as the fear of childbirth, the fear of change. These fears are absolutely normal and you should not allow them to corner you. Be careful on how often you feel depressed, how often you have gloomy thoughts that stop you from resting, how often you think negatively.
If you realize that you’re going through a depression, it is time to sound the alarm and take immediate measures: talk to your partner, your mother, with friends, looking for support wherever you are sure you will find some: important is to not feel alone! And then, seek to do exactly those activities that can relax you and give you a state of well-being and do not let yourself be controlled by sad thoughts. Think every time when a negative thought crosses your mind: “This thought is not me, it does not represent me, but is caused by hormones.” So, do not blame yourself for the tenebrous ideas that suddenly appear, in order to control them easier.
What can you do to reduce insomnia during pregnancy?
As you have probably figured it out already, it is important to try and keep an optimistic mood, to choose the good things over the bad ones! Nothing is perfect, but with this way of thinking you will overcome any inconvenience. Try to keep relaxed and rested, give up the exhausting and stressful activities and adopt some activities that you enjoy: strolls in the park, yoga, long baths, books, movies …
Whenever you feel seized by worries, stress, chores, take a break to just breathe and focus on an idea, a happy image, for example, the image of your partner or on the picture of a happy baby. You can search and apply mind calming techniques through breathing techniques or simple and effective meditations.
A daily program of physical exercises will help you, because not only it will relax you, but also because you may get tired and fall asleep more easily. You can do special exercises for pregnant women at home (buy a DVD) or you can subscribe to special classes: yoga, swimming, dancing. But even a long walk in the park has beneficial effects on your physique and psyche.
Watch your diet: avoid especially in the afternoon and evening the food that goes down badly or that makes you uncomfortable. Eat at least three hours before going to bed. Similarly, because insomnia during pregnancy is caused by the need to urinate at night, try not to drink more liquids than you feel necessary. But liquids are vital during pregnancy, so drink more in the morning.
For your old sleep position does not work anymore, move in bed, turn on all sides until you find a position in which you feel comfortable (it is recommended to sleep on the left side, not on the back, but that again depends on how you feel best). You can use a pregnancy pillow for support.
Go to bed just when you are sleepy – if it is your normal bedtime hour, but you aren’t that tired , read something interesting or look at a movie in another room. Try to do a relaxation program every night: take a long bath, scented and with bubbles, and listen to pleasant music, read something interesting, ask your partner to give you a massage …
Watch the external conditions of the bedroom: blinds or curtains to avoid being disturbed by street light, a temperature neither too low nor too high, comfortable bedding, even earplugs – if you are annoyed by the street noise, barks, trams and cars.
No matter how bad it sounds, if you cannot sleep at all, maybe it would be better, only this time – for you and your partner – to sleep on separate beds. You can stay in the same room, but to buy another single bed that you can place in the bedroom. His movements, snoring or the fear of not disturbing him may prevent you from feeling comfortable, so you should not look at this solution as a disaster, but as a rational choice and only temporary. But if you miss him and you don’t like to sllep separately, come together in bed – some people sleep more comfortable by themselves, others cannot get used to the absence of the partner.
Do not worry too much, as it was already mentioned, insomnia during pregnancy (especially towards the end of the period of nine months) is normal and represents an inconvenience faced by most pregnant women. But if you cannot even catch some good sleep and feel absolutely exhausted both physically and mentally, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor – he may have other pieces of advice to offer you, or maybe the insomnia is caused by some difficulties in your pregnancy. However, usually insomnia does not present great risks to your pregnancy.