If pregnancy complaints arekeeping you awake at night, hereare some safe solutions forback pain, leg cramps and more.
if you haven’t already heard it, eventually someone is going to tell you to sleep all you can now because you won’t be getting any rest after your baby is born. Easier said than done, right? Telling someone to“just go to sleep” is like telling someone to “just” pull a red wood tree out of the ground with his or her bare hands:It simply can’t be done. Sleep is what restores all those important connections in the brain that allow your mindand body to function at their best—something that’s doubly important when there’s a baby on board. But thanks to muscle pains, pee breaks, heartburn, hot flashes andmore, pregnant women often face big sleep challenges.
We know you don’t want to take any medications if youcan possibly avoid it. So to help, here are some ways tomake getting the rest you need a little easier.
Lie on your left side Sleeping on your side relieves stresson your back, which may be aching right about nowthanks to your growing belly. But it’s also better for yourdeveloping baby than lying flat on your back: When youdo that, the weight of your uterus compresses the bloodvessels that feed the placenta. Additionally, lying on yourleft side is better than lying on your right side because itallows more blood to flow to the uterus.
Use pillows as props If trouble breathing is keepingyou awake, use pillows to elevate your upper body. Thiswill allow your uterus to drop down, away from your diaphragm,making it easier for your lungs to inflate.Banish the bum If heartburn is a sleep stealer, elevate thehead of your bed (not just your head) by putting blocksunder the legs.
Mellow out with milk Have a small glass of warm lowfatmilk, but not after 6 p.m. (In fact, you should limit allliquids in the evening to avoid having to get up and outof bed and pee in the middle of the night.) The lactose inthe milk is a sugar; this stimulates the release of insulin,which in turn helps milk’s calming proteins like tryptophanto enter your brain.
Keep your cool The pregnant body runs hot, so if youwant to avoid waking up in a sweat, open the bedroomwindow, run a fan or ratchet up the air conditioner.
Calm cramps and kicks Many pregnant womens sleep isdisrupted by leg cramps or restless leg syndrome, whichoccurs when your leg reflexively spasms in a kickingmotion. Applying a heating pad to the area can help, ascan getting 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day;you can get your daily dose with a supplement or foods,such as fortified cereals and grains, spinach and lentils.
Consider safe meds Quieting pain so that you can getthe sleep you need is better for your mind and body than“toughing it out” in order to avoid taking medicine whenexpecting. Tylenol is safe to take if pain is keeping youawake. Benadryl, an antihistamine that makes manypeople sleepy, is also considered safe during pregnancy.You can also ask your doctor about taking the over-thecountermedication Unisom, which has been shown tohelp promote sleep during pregnancy. Just don’t use it formore than one week.
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