Natural Pregnancy — Pregnancy

RSS

Awake at Night? 6 Ways to Promote Sleep in Late Pregnancy 0


sleep during pregnancy Is your growing belly keeping you from getting regular zzzs? You’re not alone. Matter of fact, according to Babycentre.com, more than half of all women in their third trimesters rate their sleep as poor. Late pregnancy symptoms such as leg cramps, heartburn, and frequent trips to the bathroom seem to prevent a good night’s rest for many exhausted mamas-to-be. However, aside from idealistically installing a portable potty in your bed, there are some realistic, natural ways that you can get comfortable and sleep more in late pregnancy in preparation for your babe’s arrival.
  1. Pay attention to what and when you eat

Aside from the nutritional needs that your baby has, eating to nourish your own body and promote relaxation is incredibly important in pregnancy. Hydrate as much as possible during the earlier part of the day and try to limit fluid-intake in the evening, as this will cause you to need more midnight bathroom breaks. (Be careful to still drink if you are thirsty, as dehydration is more dangerous in pregnancy than sleep deprivation.)

Snack often, snack smartly, snack before you go to bed, and snack during the night. Constantly keeping your stomach slightly full can help manage stomach acids. Eating a combination of protein and complex carbohydrate stabilizes your blood sugar. And, eating carbohydrates immediately before bed has been found to help relax the body. Also, keep snacks by your bed to prevent you from fully waking up to eat when you you’re starving at 3 am.

  1. Manage your heartburn

Although heartburn is often inescapable in pregnancy, there are ways to minimize the effects. Eating smaller meals more often will help, as will correct positioning of yourself in bed. Sleeping slightly elevated is one option and can easily be accomplished by raising the head of your bed on risers/sturdy books. Sometimes, it can be more restful to cuddle upright in a recliner during late pregnancy. If swelling is also an issue, then prop your legs up on pillows while still keeping your head and chest slightly elevated as well.

If heartburn becomes unmanageable, contact your doctor who can prescribe medications and/or supplements that are safe to take while pregnant. Magnesium, specifically, has been known to help with heartburn, relaxation, constipation, and muscle cramps.

  1. Exercise wisely

Well-timed aerobic exercise such as brisk walking and swimming are wonderful during pregnancy; however, try to exercise earlier in the day when endorphins are less likely to keep you awake. While yoga and stretching exercises may help your body wind down in the evening, most cardiovascular workouts will wake your body up instead of promoting rest.

  1. Take cat naps

Especially in late pregnancy, sleep when and where you can. While napping has the reputation of making it more challenging to fall asleep later, this danger can usually be ignored during the third trimester when rest – at any time of the day – is worth its weight in gold. If you find that napping late in the day does disturb your night’s rest, then limit naps to only morning/afternoon hours. Your goal is to be as well rested as possible for your coming labor and months of feeding a baby throughout the night.

  1. Practice meditation

Specific relaxation techniques and routines, including meditation, yoga and self-hypnosis, can help you de-stress after a hectic day and give you an opportunity to focus on your body’s and baby’s needs. Set aside time every night before bed to pamper yourself. Talk to your baby. Rub your belly. Perhaps have your partner massage your body. Listen to guided relaxation audio tracks and allow your body to slip into a peaceful slumber. As an added benefit, learning how to relax during pregnancy will help you relax during labor and potentially ease your birth experience.

  1. Get regular prenatal massages

Make sure to check with your care provider before scheduling appointments, but for most women prenatal massage is safe and beneficial. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), benefits of prenatal massage include a reduction of anxiety/depression, relief of muscle and joint aches, improvement in labor and newborn health outcomes, hormone regulation, reduction of swelling, improvement of nerve (including sciatic) pain, and better sleep.

  1. Journal through your pregnancy

Sometimes stress and fears about pregnancy and parenthood can keep you from sleeping well. Or, maybe it is the overwhelming, never-ending to-do lists that you can’t get out of your head. Take time to journal about what is bothering you. Allow yourself to explore any emotional trauma or worries and seek professional help if you find that you are dealing with unresolved issues, depression or anxiety.

Sleep during pregnancy is valuable and can often feel like the elusive prize. However, you don’t have to remain haggard in late pregnancy. Instead, talk to your care provider about alternative ways to manage your health and achieve more sleep for you and your baby.   Article Sources: American Pregnancy Association. (2014, January). Massage and pregnancy – prenatal massage. American Pregnancy Association: Promoting Pregnancy Wellness. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/prenatal-massage/. Babycentre Medical Advisory Board. (2011, June). Sleep in the third trimester. Babycentre.com. Retrieved from http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a547418/sleep-in-the-third-trimester.

Author: Lauren Hasz

Photo Credit: Johnathan Nightingale, Flickr.com

Those Miraculous Pregnancy Months 1

Pregnancy Months Learn what happens in this brief overview of the pregnancy months. Month One By the time you miss your period and find out that you are actually pregnant, a tiny embryo that will become your baby has formed and begins growing at an incredibly rapid rate. In fact, the embryo is now 10,000 times larger than a single fertilized egg. The placenta, baby's heart, spinal cord, and digestive system are all beginning to develop. Month Two By the end of this month, the embryo has grown to approximately 1 inch long. The heart is now functioning, and facial features are beginning to appear. While the embryo is moving, you will not feel anything for another couple of months. Month Three The embryo is officially called a fetus and measures almost 3 inches in length. His or her arms, legs, hands, and feet are fully formed. At this stage you can probably detect a heartbeat using a device called a Doppler. Month Four Growth continues rapidly, and your baby's gender is now determinable. While looking human in appearance at this point, your baby will still need much more time before he or she could survive outside of your body. Month Five At about 10 inches long, your baby is beginning to grow hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. He or she is also growing a type of fine hair called lanugo that will cover the body until it is shed shortly before or after birth. Month Six Fetal movement is becoming more and more pronounced as muscles strengthen. Eyelids begin to part and the eyes will open occasionally. Also, hearing has developed to the point of being able to hear sounds from outside of the womb. Month Seven The average seven-month-old fetus is 15 inches long and over two lbs. in weight. If born at this stage, your baby would be premature but would have a good chance of survival. Month Eight Growth is especially rapid this month, with tremendous development of the brain, lungs, and other organs. Your baby will most likely turn head down during this time to prepare for delivery. Month Nine Congratulations! Your baby is ready to be born. He or she likely weighs between 6 and 9 lbs and measure 18 to 22 inches in length. The lungs and other organs are completely mature and the skin is pink and smooth. Don't forget that most babies are not born on their exact due date and there is no benefit to rushing it. Anytime from the 38th to the 42nd week of pregnancy is optimal. Author: Julian Hall About the author: Julian Hall of GiftBabies.co.uk and The Baby Gifts Company - The Most Unique, Innovative Gift Ideas for Babies, Christening Gifts, Newborn Gifts, Personalized Gifts, Organic Clothing, Nappies, Blankets, New Baby Gifts Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/hennasooq/306640571/