To sleep, perchance to dream
This is part two in our three-part series that address sleep challenges during your second trimester of pregnancy. We’ve got a slew of tips and tricks to help you continue to get comfortable and catch some solid ZZZs during this ‘honeymoon’ stage of your pregnancy.
By your second semester, morning sickness and extreme fatigue are starting to subside, which (hopefully) has you feeling pretty great – happy, healthy and energetic. Your body is still changing as it grows an amazing little nugget of love – no surprise why most women start to truly enjoy their pregnancy during this trimester.
Growth of your baby (and body) speed up now, along with sleep challenges. You may struggle to settle in and get comfortable at bedtime because of your growing girth and the cocktail of hormones surging through your system. But it’s easier than the first trimester – when you battled all-day-nausea – and the third trimester – when no position is comfortable for very long. Heartburn and weird dreams will follow you through this trimester, but there are ways to get around both and get you to a full night’s sleep.
As your belly grows, getting comfortable at night will become more of a challenge. You’re no longer able to sleep on your stomach and doctors urge you not to sleep on your back as it can increase blood pressure and decrease blood flow to your uterus. Many doctors recommend sleeping as much as possible on your left side. When you sleep this way, your uterus pushes forward, ensuring that your baby gets plenty of nutrient-rich blood and oxygen through the night.
Progesterone (part of that hormone cocktail surging through your system) causes the stomach’s upper valve to relax, which means that food can more easily move in the wrong direction, bringing acid with it. Add the fact that your uterus is getting bigger and pushing on your stomach, it’s no wonder you have occasional bouts of indigestion. There are, however, some ways you can avoid it: eat small meals frequently rather than big meals infrequently and sit up straight to keep gravity on your side and move food through the digestive tract.
Do your dreams seem crazier than usual? Blame the progesterone surging through your veins, plus the excitement and apprehension about pregnancy and motherhood. “Dreams reflect your emotional reality,” says Mary O’Malley, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “Pregnancy brings up positive and negative feelings that you’ll digest through your dreams.”
Your second trimester is your chance to rest and enjoy the glow of impending motherhood. Sure, there will be lots of challenges and hurdles but the magic happening in your belly is worth every one of them. The best advice anyone can give you is rest as much as possible – this may be your last chance in a while… If you already have children at home, you’ll know what we mean. If you don’t, you’ll understand soon enough.
Next week we’ll bring you tips on how to survive sleeping during your third – and final – trimester. Until then, we’d love to read your pregnancy sleep stories and tips.