Some women sleep like babies while they're pregnant. Others toss and turn. For still others, a good night's sleep may come easily early in the pregnancy and then become more elusive during later months. Here are some ways to improve your sleep:
- Cut down on evening fluids. Frequent urination is a major sleep saboteur. Most pregnant women have to get up one, two, and even three times each night to urinate. You can reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom by drinking most of your fluids earlier in the day and limiting them after dinner.
- Keep heartburn at bay. Avoid spicy, fatty foods late in the day and eat lightly in the evening. Elevating the head of the bed or sleeping with an extra pillow may also help.
- Work out early. Exercise can help you sleep, but working out too close to bedtime might keep you awake.
- Practice sleeping on your side. It's best not to sleep on your back after week 24, because doing so can impede blood flow to major vessels and may make you feel nauseated.
- Cushion your expanding belly. As your pregnancy progresses, the weight of your growing baby may place uncomfortable pressure on certain parts of your body. Some women get comfort from the
full-body pregnancy pillows that are sold in catalogs and baby stores. You can get similar full-body support by lining up several smaller pillows.
- Relax. If stress is keeping you awake, take a warm shower or bath before bed, practice breathing exercises, or ask your partner for a soothing massage.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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