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If you have been pregnant for months now, this is probably how your Google search history looks. Guilty? Well, good thing Google is there to answer all of your questions; otherwise, we will all be clueless with the mystery and miracle of being pregnant.
Pregnancy is a joyful stage in every woman’s life. Just the thought of having a miracle inside you is enough to say that pregnancy is indeed a blessing. But along with this exciting chapter in your life is a nine months journey of mood swings, changes in physical appearance, searching for clothes that fit, being cautious with food, and not to mention, not getting the same quality of sleep that you used to have.
Aside from baby names, food, clothing, baby stuff, and health hazard, sleep is one of the major concerns of every pregnant woman. Its because sleep is also a challenging part of pregnancy, next to labor and delivery.
Importance of Sleep During Pregnancy
Sleep is twice as important for pregnant women as they are now “sleeping for two.” During the earlier stage of pregnancy, sleeping can be a breeze as soon-to-be moms feel tired and lazy most of the time. It is because during the first trimester there is a dramatic increase in the progesterone level, which is responsible for a pregnant woman’s excessive sleepiness, especially during daytime.
Getting quality sleep gets more challenging as a pregnant woman approaches the second and third trimester. It is because the size of the baby is getting bigger each day, making it harder to find the right position to sleep and other external factors.
In a 2011 survey, it shows that pregnant women experience a decrease of night-time sleep during the last trimester, and 67% of respondents said that their difficulty in sleeping is caused by discomfort during pregnancy.
Common Causes of Difficulty in Sleeping During Pregnancy
As the baby grows inside a woman’s body, it is getting harder to find a comfortable position while sleeping. First-time moms also tend to worry about unconsciously rolling over their baby bump in the middle of the night, making it harder to catch some sleep.
Switching sleeping positions also becomes a bit of a challenge, especially during the last trimester as the baby bump is in full bloom.
Unlimited bathroom trips
Frequent urination is normal for a pregnant woman. It is because you are required to take more fluid as much as possible to meet the needs of your growing baby. But as the baby grows, the expecting mom’s uterus also expands. It creates more pressure on the bladder resulting in more night trips to the bathroom to urinate.
Also called acid indigestion. It is a burning sensation from the esophagus brought by substances that refluxing back from the stomach. Pregnant women usually experience this between the second and third trimester when the baby bump is more significant.
Lying down on your back and even sideways triggers heartburn, that is why pregnant women have a hard time getting a good night's sleep.
Shortness of breath
The drastic changes in pregnancy hormones lead women to deeply breathe as if they have a hard time to grasp for air. As the baby grows more prominent and the mother is also adding a little weight, breathing gets more complicated. It is because the expanding uterus is slowly taking up all the space, which causes pressure in the diaphragm.
Leg cramps and backache
A pregnant woman’s body goes through a lot of changes in preparation for childbirth. As the baby grows, expecting moms also gains extra weight resulting in more body pains, particularly on the legs and back.
Westchester Medical Center ob-gyn Enid Leikin said that calcium deficiency and phosphorus overload are the common causes of leg cramps among pregnant women. Leg cramps often occur at night during the second and third trimester making it more challenging to catch some Zzz.
Stress and anxiety
Pregnancy Stress and anxiety is brought by worrying too much about different factors like the baby and mother’s health, changes in physical appearance, delivery pains, the future of the baby, and worries of balancing work and motherhood.
Hormonal changes also tend to make expecting moms to get more emotional in the smallest possible things. They tend to overthink on the things that concern their pregnancy, and they are very sensitive to other people’s opinions.
How to Achieve an Excellent Quality of Sleep During Pregnancy?
Know the right position
Expecting moms are recommended to sleep on the side, particularly on the left side. Sleeping on your side keeps the uterus off your large organs resulting in a more comfortable position. This position also improves blood flow to the uterus. Changing sleeping positions from time-to-time is also important to avoid tension on your muscles.
On top of that, avoid being anxious about rolling over your baby bump. There is a little chance for you to unconsciously sleep on your stomach since it will be painful and uncomfortable.
Let the pillows do their job
Pillows are made to give support and maintain your body’s alignment while you are asleep. Try placing a soft pillow under your abdomen or in between legs, whichever you find comfortable. You may also buy a special pillow made for pregnant women.
This will surely not be easy, but try to avoid getting anxious about everything about you and the baby. As long as you see your doctor regularly and you get the right amount of support from your family and friends, everything will be alright.
Cut on fluids before bedtime
Water and fluid intake are healthy for both the mom and the baby during pregnancy. But try cutting down your fluid intake a few hours before bedtime to lessen the urge to urinate in the middle of the night.
Use weighted blankets
For sure you have stumbled upon weighted blanket reviews and its effect. These cotton weighted blankets are also beneficial for pregnant women who are having a hard time to sleep. It gives you that warm hug-like feels that help you ease your anxiety and relaxing bedtime as you’ve never had before.
Benefits of Using Weighted Blanket During Pregnancy
A weighted blanket is not your ordinary blanket; it is made of soft cotton filled with stuffing like beads and pellets for and added extra weight. It promises to give you that giant hug feels brought by the extra weight, which ranges from 4 to 25 pounds.
For sure, the next question in your mind will be: “is weighted blanket too heavy for a pregnant woman like me?” The answer is no. When choosing a weighted blanket, keep in mind that it should be at least 10% of your total body weight to get the full benefits. It is also recommended to double-check the weighted blanket weight chart to make sure you are getting the right size for your body weight.
If you want a medication-free way to deal with your pregnancy anxiety, nausea, and difficulty in sleeping, a weighted blanket is the perfect natural therapy for you. Below are some of weighted blanket facts and benefits that are good to know before investing one for yourself:
Deep Touch Pressure
Weighted blanket promotes Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) therapy. It is the science of gently applying pressure to the body for it to increase the production of serotonin – a body chemical that helps in relaxation.
Deep touch pressure generally provides a tactile sensory in the form of hugging, cuddling, and firm stroking. Overall deep touch pressure benefits include: better quality of sleep, increased happiness, clearer focus, calming, soothing, reduces stress and anxiety, and improved ability to deal with stressful situations.
Helps ease anxiety and stress
Due to the increase in hormones level and the fear of the unknown; mothers tend to be anxious about a lot of things concerning pregnancy. Anxiety is the constant feeling of fear, nervousness, and worry about the baby’s health, safety, and future.
The extra weight brought by a 20 lb weighted blanket also serves as a therapeutic way to ease anxiety and discomfort during pregnancy. A lot of weighted blanket reviews claimed they it helped them stay calm and relieved their pregnancy anxieties and stress.
Helps reduce pregnancy swelling
Swelling is one of the expected changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Due to the new life inside you, your body produces 50% more blood and body fluids than usual. It usually occurs during the 5th month up to the last month of the third trimester.
Aside from eating foods that are rich in potassium, a weighted blanket also help reduce pregnancy swelling. Regular exposure to weighted blanket’s pressure helps reduce inflammation and swelling on the feet, legs, and hands.
Provides better sleep
Difficulty in sleeping is already a given challenge during pregnancy. As mentioned above, the difficulty in sleeping can be associated with an uncomfortable sleeping position, unlimited night trips to the bathroom, heartburn, shortness of breath, and stress.
With the help of a weighted blanket, expecting moms can now achieve a better quality of sleep. Since it provides a relaxing feeling; there is a low chance of interrupted sleep.
Cooling weighted blanket
There is also a variation called cooling weighted blanket designed with a cooling effect, which helps to adjust to the temperature, especially during the summer season. It is made with breathable materials to avoid getting all sweaty in the middle of the night. Some cooling weighted blankets even have the option to remove the cotton cover when you want to snuggle even during the hot summer nights.
During pregnancy, women experience increased body heat due to hormonal changes. This is also the reason why some pregnant women tend to get easily irritated because of the uneasy feeling from their body temperature. The cooling weighted blanket is perfect for giving pregnant women a relaxing atmosphere minus the discomfort of excessive sweating.
It is drug-free
Pregnancy makes you more cautious when it comes to your food intake and other things that you will associate your body. You have to be more careful when it comes to toxic chemicals, which may affect the development of your baby. This is why a weighted blanket is a perfect tool to help in relaxation compared to taking medicines which might cause side effects to your unborn child.
But you should also keep in mind that although weighted blankets can be an excellent aid in relaxation and sleep, it does not have any therapeutic claims. It should not be a total replacement to necessary medication that you needed for the entire pregnancy.
It is safe to say that pregnancy is like a roller coaster ride of emotions. Sometimes you are at your peak and happiest and sometimes you are at your lowest point. You can shift from having that excellent baby glow down to the ugly part of morning sickness, swelling, and hormonal changes.
Nobody said it would be easy and there is no easy way to get pass through the life-changing nine months of carrying a human life inside you. Good thing, weighted blankets are now available to help lessen and ease some of these pregnancy challenges.
Sometimes, all a pregnant woman needs is a tight hug to sooth all these fireworks of emotions and changes going through her mind and body. A tight squeeze that can be mimicked by a quality weighted blanket is already a big help, the kind of hug that will ease pain, anxiety, and stress.
With the help of your doctor, a weighted blanket can be an excellent tool in making you have a joyful and breezy pregnancy. With the numerous benefits to your mind and body during pregnancy, who knows, a weighted blanket can also help you in our post-pregnancy recovery? After all, babies do not need a perfect mother; they need a happy and relaxed one.