Sleep is important during pregnancy but sometimes a growing bump makes it difficult to get comfortable. Here are some handy hints for a good night's sleep.
Tiredness is often associated with pregnancy as many mums-to-be find it difficult to get a good night's rest as their growing tummy makes it hard for them to find a comfortable sleep position. A lack of sleep over a period of time can be tough, both physically and mentally — especially when your body is going through so many changes.
It's important for you to get more sleep so that you're ready for labour and the potentially sleepless nights that having a newborn brings.
Luckily, getting a good night's sleep is easy to achieve with a few tweaks to your usual bedtime habits:
Get into position
Sleeping on your left side is the most comfortable throughout pregnancy. The recovery position (lying on the side with knees bent) helps to overcome nausea. Try placing a pillow between the knees to aid comfort — it will help any pain in the hips and pelvis. This may also help with any leg cramps or restless legs — both of which are common symptoms in pregnancy.
Heartburn is also a reason that prevents many mums-to-be from getting a good night's rest. Avoid spicy food and late-night meals that may cause heartburn. To get relief from heartburn, prop yourself up on pillows so your head is elevated.
You can buy special wedge-shaped or body pillows, but a selection of standard pillows works just as well to save on extra expense. As your pregnancy progresses, a pillow on which to rest your bump helps many expectant mums to sleep better. A rolled-up towel under your belly can offer additional support.
For some women, as the bump grows, sleeping on their backs may make them feel faint. It's advisable to avoid sleeping on your back after week 16, as the weight of your womb pressing down on some veins may affect blood circulation.
Cup of comfort
A cup of warm low-fat milk in the late afternoon is a comforting way to prepare you for a good night's rest. The calming effects of the amino acid tryptophan contained in milk may induce sleep.
By Catherine CHUA Bee Hong Senior Principal Physiotherapist, Elizabeth CHAN Jiahui Principal Physiotherapist,
KK Women's and Children's Hospital
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
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