I always laugh a little (in my head of course, I don’t want to be rude or crush someones dreams) when a first time soon to be mom talks about how tired she is during pregnancy. I will give you a hint ladies, be prepared for pure exhaustion like you have never known. I hope you read that in a deep scary voice of impending doom. Now the truth is, some moms have littles that sleep amazingly right out the gate…..I have yet to meet one, but there must be one out there. The reality is for at least the first few months snuggling your new born you will get barely any sleep. This is especially so if you are breast feeding, but that is a whole different post all together. In this one, I really want to address sleep and pregnancy.
SLEEP IS IMPORTANT!!!
Patient: “but I want to…” Me: “stop”
Patient: “I have to…” Me: “stop”
Patient: “I cant sleep” Me: “ok, lets figure this out”
The first two mean you are too busy and need to take a breath! You are growing a small human! This is miraculous and amazing time in your life rolled in snuggles and fluffy stuff!! And I am aware of the prep involved and all the to do items on your lists, but here is where we need to make a priority switch. You must be the number one priority. If that didn’t sink in, let me say it another way…..your sleep now will determine a whole host of issues coming your way.
Let’s talk about a biggie, your birth process. It has been found that women who get less than six hours of sleep had on average 29 hours of labor.
I have been through this….trust me, less time in labor is not something to look at lightly. Too short of a labor also has it’s issues, but lets be real…..29 hours?! When you have the ability to take one step that may help this time period shorten???
On the flip side the study also showed that the women who slept 7 hours or more had an average labor time of 18 hours.
That is an 11 hour difference of magical proportion.
Do I have your attention yet? Sleep is important….for you…..for the baby…..for birth!!!
Now if you were the one saying “I can’t sleep”. That is a whole different ball game. There are so many reasons pregnant women can not sleep. This is different from I just feel like I need to keep going! This group struggles due to pain, nausea, in ability to get comfortable, a small tiny human kicking the snot out of your spleen. Here is the good news, there are ways to help. You do not need to suffer just because you are pregnant. So stop being a martyr and try one, some, or all. Put you first!
Here is a list of some things that may help you sleep…..
Read a book…in bed.
Now preferably you will not pick something that will not get your heart racing or your mind thinking. I love a good motivational book, but now is not the time. Think more along the lines of a nice Victorian fictional book. Not your style? (not mine either, just saying) Then maybe something on history, or pregnancy, or breast feeding. The trick here is something mildly entertaining, but that you will be able to put down when you are ready to nod off.
You can do this anytime during the day! Meditation is amazing for bringing yourself and your thoughts back and being in control of your own mind. It takes work! I hope you are a natural, but be prepared this may take a bit to get things under control. You could even read a book on meditation (did you catch that throw back to number 1? wink….wink)
Turn off the TV!!!
I love hearing “the TV helps me fall asleep” said no doctor ever. You know why?! Because it doesn’t. What it does do is allow you mind to take a break so you can fall asleep, but over time the noise and lights from the TV once you are asleep are the problem. The hold up is not that you require the TV to sleep, in reality you require a quiet mind. A mind not racing through the day. A mind that is calm, relaxed, and ready to repair itself from all the madness of the day. So find a different source to help your mind take a break. Take a couple deep breaths, read a book, mediate……is there a pattern here?
Get outside (during the day)
If you stay inside most of your day you are setting yourself up for sleep failure. Sunlight is incredibly beneficial from being essential for vitamin D production to simply setting your mind on the right setting. This subject could be it’s own book….in fact there are several books on the benefits of sunlight….pick one up for your bed time stories!
Talk to your doctor
In reality there are a ton of reasons you may not be able to sleep. Your Midwife, OBGYN, MD, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Doula (the list could go forever) all know several ways to approach the subject, by talking with you and creating a plan of attach, your sleep issues will hopefully become a thing of the past….until your little one arrives….then your are screwed (in the most loving amazing way you have ever known).
The hard part is depending on why you are not able to sleep needs to be a discussion with your team. If you do not have a team for your pregnancy….GET ONE!!!
Finding the right team for you is a MUST…..but we will leave that one for next week.
For now, enjoy your pregnancy. It goes by so fast.
Please note, nothing in the article should be considered medial advice. Before stopping starting, doing anything at all please speak with your Chiropractor, MD, DO, OBGYN, Midwife, or Doula to make sure anything written here is right for you. This article does not create a patient doctor relationship and should be used for entertainment/informational purposes only. Again….consult your team of professionals!