Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women, but hormonal changes and the physical discomforts associated with carrying a child can lead to sleep disturbance. It is very common for women to feel fatigued during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters and with each trimester, new sleep challenges emerge.
A rise in progesterone levels, for example, can explain increased daytime sleepiness, especially in the first trimester. Hormonal changes can also affect the muscles, and can lead to snoring and an increased the risk of developing Sleep Apnoea, particularly in women who were overweight when they became pregnant. Sleep Apnoea is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night can also disturb sleep. A number of other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD can be caused, or made worse, by pregnancy. Worrying about labour and delivery can also lead to insomnia, as women find it more difficult to switch off. This is especially true of first time mothers.
Getting a full night’s sleep can become even harder when the baby arrives. So, it is especially important for pregnant women to develop strategies for coping with sleep problems to ensure that they are getting adequate sleep throughout their pregnancy
These tips may help, however, if your sleep disturbance is severe, consult your doctor to rule out any other cause.
It’s very common to have restless legs during pregnancy which can lead to increased sleep disturbance.