I am fascinated with sleep and the way it affects so many facets of our life. Particularly as a mom of a 10 and 2 year old, I am always curious to know how sleep affects our children’s developing brains. One of my firm rules as a parent with myself, husband and children is: everyone must get enough sleep. That doesn’t mean that we never have late nights for special events or when we are travelling, but the majority of the time we are getting a full night of rest.
But what about when a woman is pregnant, is sleep important? The short answer is YES!
Sleeping when pregnant can be challenging. As you progress in pregnancy it can be difficult to find a comfortable position in bed. Sleep problems such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep disordered breathing can be more prevalent in pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy along with heartburn, nausea and other discomforts can create issues with sleeping well.
However, research has found a link between poor sleep and an increased risk for birth complications. Longer labors and a higher chance of cesarean delivery were noted in pregnant women who slept less than 6 hours per night.
Also, women who do not get enough sleep may be at a higher risk for developing complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Though this is a complex topic, depression tends to be more prevalent in individuals who do not get enough sleep. In addition, sleep plays a critical role in a well functioning immune system.
Every woman is different and therefore there are no definite answers for sleeping well. However, it is worth prioritizing sleep for yourself while pregnant. Whether you can indulge in a cup of herbal tea, a warm bath or some meditation before bed, find what works for you. This is a habit that is worth fostering for yourself during pregnancy and after and a lesson that your children will benefit from learning too. When we rest well we are healthier and more prepared for our days.