Is oversleeping during pregnancy a problem?

Sleep disorder is a major problem. Similarly, oversleeping has also its adverse effects on our health. Especially, this might be a problem amongst pregnant women. So, Dr Suhasini Inamdar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore, talks about the effects of oversleeping during pregnancy.
Is oversleeping during pregnancy a problem?
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A new international study, led by Michigan Medicine, suggests that sleeping more than nine hours per night during pregnancy may be linked to late stillbirth. The findings, published in the journal Birth, point to a link between long periods of uninterrupted maternal sleep and stillbirths that was independent of other risk factors. However, researchers warn that further research is required to fully comprehend the relationship and its implications for pregnant women. In fact, even the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep during pregnancy which is normal but if women sleep beyond 10 hours then it can be termed as excessive sleeping during pregnancy. So, Dr Suhasini Inamdar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore talks about oversleeping during pregnancy.

What happens during the night?

While multiple night-time awakenings can worry some women, it appears to be protective in the case of stillbirth. More research is needed into what may be driving the connection between maternal sleep and stillbirths, with a specific emphasis on how the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily function and the hormonal system are controlled during late-pregnancy sleep.

Blood pressure is said to be at its lowest during sleep, but when someone is awakened, a rise in nervous system activity occurs, causing an intermittent increase in blood pressure. It is likely that these brief blood pressure changes are able to avoid long stretches of low pressure. Low blood pressure has been related to foetal growth defects, preterm birth and stillbirth, so this is crucial.

Pregnant women should avoid waking up in the middle of the night. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to poor pregnancy outcomes, such as growth restriction and preterm birth. Although there is evidence that sleep disruption and psychiatric sleep disorders are related to poor pregnancy outcomes, few studies have looked at the other end of the continuum, such as long stretches of uninterrupted sleep.

Maternal sleep should be included in studies aimed at reducing stillbirths because it is a potentially modifiable risk factor. Understanding the value of maternal sleep will help us recognise strategies that can help us give better guidance to women.

What causes you to be so tired when pregnant?

During the first and third trimesters of your pregnancy, it is normal to feel more tired than usual. Your blood volume and progesterone levels rise during the first trimester. You can feel drowsy as a result of this. Carrying around the extra baby weight and the mental anxiety of imminent labour will make you want to spend more time in bed by the third trimester.

You may not be having sufficient quality sleep in addition to these hormonal and physiological changes. Restless nights can be caused by pregnancy-related discomforts, as well as elevated stress and anxiety levels. This can make you feel exhausted throughout the day and make you want to sleep.

Some women may experience sleep apnea as well and in case breathing is restricted it is ideal to consult a doctor. Due to the pressure on the bladder, women have to go for frequent urination and thus it's advisable to reduce the water intake closer to bedtime.

What would you do to get more sleep when pregnant?

Don't give up hope if you're having trouble sleeping well during your pregnancy. There are many things you can do to change your sleeping habits.

Make use of a maternity pillow

A pregnancy pillow will make you feel supported and secure when you sleep if you usually sleep on your back or simply can't get into a position that feels right. Warm milk, eating 3 hours before going to bed and avoiding mobile laptops and TV, reading books, listening to soothing music also helps.
Fix the underlying concerns

Are you worried or stressed about giving birth? Is there anything else on your mind that keeps you awake at night? Taking care of any problems that are keeping your mind racing will help you sleep better.

Exercise on a regular basis

Improved sleep is one of the possible advantages of exercise. Daily exercise will also give you more energy to get through your day and help your body remain healthy for the job ahead of you when it comes to giving birth to your baby!

Get yourself a massage

Touch can be really relaxing and sleep-inducing! It can also help you feel better and alleviate some of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy.

Also Read: Add THESE 3 yoga asanas to your daily fitness routine to promote overall wellbeing