The changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy are truly a miracle. While your body may be making things roomy and comfortable for your new child, it may also make you incredibly uncomfortable, especially when you're trying to sleep. Kicking babies, leg and foot cramps, lower back pain and six bathroom runs per night are all part of being pregnant and trying to sleep. Here are a few tips to try and get a few more z's.
Plan Your Water
It's really important to keep hydrated when you are pregnant, but too much liquid too close to bed can make for a lot of bathroom runs. Try and space out your water drinking throughout the day, keep a water bottle, and take a few sips from it all day long, rather than drinking large amounts at one sitting. Taper off after dinner, and this should help you stay hydrated without the need to relieve yourself quite as often.
Stretching is a very important part of being comfortable when pregnant, day or night. There are a number of pregnancy yoga videos that show some gentle positions to try. Your body releases a hormone called relaxin when you're pregnant that make your joints pretty loose, so be sure you're doing pregnancy-approved exercises, as you may risk injury if you try things that don't work for your growing body. However, if you focus on your areas where you are cramping at night, specifically the legs and lower back, you will find that you go to bed with a little more comfort.
Many pregnant women invest in a body pillow when they get pregnant, because it gives some options for propping the body up into more comfortable positions. A pillow between the knees can often relieve a lot of the stress on the hips and lower back, while you sleep on your side. If you want to sleep on your back, you can prop a pillow under your knees to keep them bent. Experiment with different pillows raising different body areas. Elevating a body part that is giving you pain is often a great way to get some of the blood to flow away from it, and to calm it down overall.
Learning to create a sleep ritual will help you to get more quality sleep, and it will also be a mothering skill that can give your child better sleep in his or her future. Essentially, a ritual does things that are comforting, and it is a repeated routine of about half an hour that your body recognizes as the sign that it will sleep soon. Get away from screens. Put away your phone, tv, computer, or anything else. Drink a warm (but small) cup of something soothing, like chamomile tea. Try and keep all work related things in other places, and to sleep in a dark, quiet bedroom.