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Everyone knows that a new baby means overly-tired parents, but most expectant mothers don’t realize that sleep deprivation can become a problem long before the new bundle of joy arrives.  After the first trimester, when women usually sleep more, many pregnant women have difficulty getting enough sleep and can experience frequent sleep disruptions that put deep sleep out of reach.   According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of pregnant women experience disturbed sleep more frequently during pregnancy than during other times in their lives. 

It’s no wonder why pregnant women are tired and often feel more fatigued as their pregnancy progresses.   But what is keeping them from getting the sleep they need?  Here are five of the most common things that are keeping expectant mothers up at night.

1.   They can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping.

For mothers-to-be that are used to sleeping on their stomachs or backs, finding a comfortable sleeping position on their side can be difficult.  When you add the general discomfort pregnant women experience as they get closer to their due date, it is easy to understand why sleeping may also be uncomfortable.  In the later months, it can also be difficult to shift positions because of the size of the baby which only adds to the potential sleep disrupting discomfort.

2.   They need to use the bathroom frequently.

As the baby grows, the mother’s kidneys have to work much harder than usual to clean the higher volume of blood, resulting in more urine.  Additionally, the growing baby puts pressure on the bladder increasing the number of trips to the bathroom.  Every time a pregnant woman has to get up to use the bathroom, her sleep is disrupted which affects both the quality and quantity of sleep she will get that night.

3.   They are prone to leg cramps and sore backs.

Pregnant women don’t just get sore because of the extra weight they are carrying along with the baby.  One of the hormones produced during pregnancy is called Relaxin and its primary job is to loosen the ligaments in preparation for childbirth.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t only work on the ligaments involved in childbirth which leaves the soon-to-be mother more prone to injury.

4.  They battle heartburn and constipation.

During pregnancy, a woman’s digestive system operates more slowly than it does during other times. This can cause both heartburn and constipation as food remains in the stomach and intestines longer than normal.  Additionally, as the pregnancy progresses, the baby puts pressure on both of these organs which can exacerbate these problems. 

5.  They have an active baby.

For a tired mother-to-be, the joy of feeling the baby move can dissipate quickly if the baby insists on moving all night in ways that keep her from getting the sleep she needs. 

There are some things pregnant women can do to combat these sleep stealers.  First, make sleep a priority and try to find times for short naps throughout the day.  Second, make sure you are getting enough exercise as this can have a direct impact on your ability to get the sleep you need.  Third, use a small nightlight in the bathroom and don’t turn on the light when you have to get up so you can fall back asleep faster.

About Valley Sleep Center:

The recipient of the 2011 Business of the Year by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Valley Sleep Center has been serving the Valley since 2002. Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com.

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