General Practice 2022

Insônia in pregnancy: causes and what to do

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Insônia in pregnancy: causes and what to do
Insônia in pregnancy: causes and what to do

Insomnia in pregnancy is a common situation that can happen at any period of pregnancy, being more frequent in the third trimester due to the common hormonal changes of pregnancy and baby development. In the first trimester of pregnancy, insomnia is more common due to anxiety related to the beginning of pregnancy.

To combat insomnia and sleep better, a woman can place a pillow between her legs to be more comfortable, avoid stimulating drinks after 6 pm, sleep in a quiet environment with low light, avoid frequenting very noisy environments and light at night and do activities that promote relaxation, such as Yoga or meditation, for example.

Insomnia in pregnancy is more common between the end of the second trimester and the third trimester of pregnancy, and can happen due to several factors, the main ones being:

1. Hormonal changes typical of pregnancy

During pregnancy, hormone levels change, especially progesterone and estrogen as the pregnancy develops.

The increase in progesterone levels in early pregnancy can have a sedative effect on the nervous system, which can make the woman feel more sleepy during this period, however it is common that this sleep is not invigorating and is often interrupted, as this hormone can also act on the muscles of the urinary system, in addition to being related to nausea, which can make the woman wake up several times during the night.

In addition, the increase in estrogen can also be associated with insomnia, because this hormone has a stimulating effect, which can make it harder to fall asleep, in addition to waking up more times during the night and cannot sleep afterwards.

2. Increased urge to pee

The greater urge to pee is one of the main causes of insomnia in pregnancy and it happens due to the fact that as the baby develops there is more pressure on the bladder, so it is not necessary as much volume of urine so that it is full and there is the urge to go to the bathroom.

In addition, the increased concentration of progesterone in the blood can also act on the muscles of the urinary system, resulting in more trips to the bathroom. In this way, the greater urge to pee can make the woman get up more often during the night to go to the bathroom, resulting in insomnia.

3. Heartburn

Heartburn is also a condition that can be related to insomnia in pregnancy and can happen as a consequence of increased levels of progesterone.

This hormone can act by decreasing intestinal flow and relaxing the esophageal sphincter, which can cause gastric acid to back up into the esophagus and throat, leading to the onset of heartburn symptoms, which can be quite uncomfortable.Learn how to identify the symptoms of heartburn in pregnancy.

4. Anxiety or stress

Anxiety and stress are common situations during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, and they can also cause insomnia, because it is often difficult to relax and rest in the face of these situations, and sleep may be little invigorating and causing the woman to wake up several times during the night or sleep a few hours.

5. Belly size

The size of the belly, especially at the end of pregnancy, can also cause insomnia, because it is more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position that helps you relax.

6. Numb arm or leg

It is common for arms or legs to become numb during pregnancy, which is often a consequence of the position in which the woman sleeps, which may compromise blood circulation in the area, causing it to become numb, which can be uncomfortable and make so that the woman cannot sleep.

What to do to sleep better during pregnancy

To fight insomnia and sleep better, women can follow some tips that can help them relax more easily and have a good night's sleep, such as:

  • Go to bed at the same time every day to create a sleep routine that will facilitate the relaxation of the body;
  • Sleep on your side,preferably, placing a pillow between your legs and resting your neck on another pillow, as insomnia in pregnancy is often caused by the pregnant woman trying find a comfortable sleeping position;
  • Drink a soothing tea, such as lemon balm or chamomile tea, for example, or a passion fruit juice 30 minutes before going to sleep to relax the body and help to favor sleep;
  • Avoid very bright and noisy environments, such as malls and shopping centers at night;
  • Use a small lavender pillow that can be heated in the microwave and always sleep with it close to your face or put about 5 drops of lavender essential oil on the pillow, as lavender induces sleep, helping to reduce insomnia.
  • Take a shower with warm water before going to sleep to relax the body;
  • Practicing Yoga or meditation to relax the body, as anxiety, which is usually present in pregnancy, is one of the causes of insomnia in pregnancy.

Furthermore, it is important that women have he althy eating habits and practice physical activity as recommended by the obstetrician, so that it is possible to combat insomnia effectively. Insomnia during pregnancy can be treated with medication, however, its use should only be done under the guidance of the obstetrician accompanying the pregnancy.

See these and other tips to sleep better in the following video:

Insomnia in pregnancy harms the baby?

Insomnia during pregnancy does not harm the development of the baby, however recent studies have shown that the decrease in the quality of sleep of pregnant women can increase the risk of premature birth. This would be due to the fact that due to insomnia there would be a greater release of hormones related to stress and inflammation, such as cortisol, for example.

Thus, if the pregnant woman has insomnia, it is important to consult the obstetrician and, in some cases, a psychologist so that she can relax and have an ideal night's sleep. In addition, it is recommended that the woman has an adequate diet and practice physical activity according to the guidance of the physical education professional and obstetrician.

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