Welcome back to our Comfy Pregnancy Series!
Last time we talked about finding comfort in the early days.
Today, we're talking about how to help get the comfiest sleep possible!
It's hard work growing a person, and your body needs plenty of rest while it is doing so. Ironically, despite mind-numbing fatigue many women have a hard time getting good, quality sleep during pregnancy. In the beginning, nausea, breast tenderness, and even anxiety about all the changes a pregnancy/baby brings can all interfere with some good shut eye. Later on in pregnancy the bulging belly, blossoming bosom, leg cramps and aching back all contribute to difficulty sleeping well.
As one who absolutely adores sleep, this was simply unacceptable to me. So, I was willing to try just about anything and everything to help increase the quantity and quality of my sleep! Some things that worked in one pregnancy were absolute failures in the others.
However, I found some things that were helpful in facilitating comfy sleep throughout all three of my pregnancies. It's those things I'm going to share with you today.
1. Stretch Before Bed. The nights I would forget to stretch before bed I always ended up sleeping more poorly than the nights I would stretch. There were three stretches that seemed to provide the most relief and promote the best sleep:
* The Chair Stretch: Stand facing a counter top, stair rail or door jamb (something that is sturdy enough to support your weight). Hold onto the counter/rail/etc and place the left ankle across the right knee. Push your tush back and down, as if you're going to sit in a chair. Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This stretch helps with sciatic pain, low back pain, and restless legs.
* The Standing Calf Stretch: Stand inside a door way facing the door jamb. For balance, hold onto the jamb or wall and place the heel of one foot on the ground with toes up onto the jam. Lean into it until you feel a slight stretch. Breathe deeply in through your nose, out through your mouth and hold the stretch 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. This helps stave off calf cramps.
* The Cat Stretch: Get onto your hands and knees (you may want to put a towel or mat under your knees for comfort). Inhale and arch your back, letting your belly sink towards the floor. Exhale through your mouth and round your back, tucking your belly in, as though you're connecting your belly button to your spine. Gently repeat a few times. You can rock back and forth while your back is rounded to deepen the stretch. **NOTE: Don't sink your belly too low, especially if you have an abdominal separation (diastasis recti). Just a gentle stretch will do.**
2. Pillows, pillows, pillows. Support your back and belly using pillows. One between the knees, and one wedged under the belly slightly did the trick for me (one body pillow can do both at once!). Occasionally I would also wedge one behind my back. (one wedged under my belly as I laid on my side worked wonders for comfort after each of my c-sections as well!!)
3. Water. Inevitably I would wake up needing to run to the loo. Whenever I did, I found I was also parched with thirst. Keeping a glass or bottle of water on the night stand was a huge help.
4. Light, Cotton Jammies. Even in the middle of winter, I found that light jammies made from fabric that allows air flow helped when the hot flashes would hit in the middle of the night.
So, there you have it! My top tips for getting Comfy Sleep in pregnancy. Next time we'll talk about getting our bodies (and babies!) ready for labor/delivery (even if you have a c-section).
What are your favorite tried and true tips to help get good sleep in pregnancy?
Note: I am not a medical professional. These tips/tricks are simply things that worked for me. If you have any worries or concerns, please ask your health care provider.
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