Too much sleep and not enough sleep have been found to cause complications with pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a serious condition caused by high blood pressure and while some women are more prone to it that others during pregnancy, researchers are finding that the amount of sleep you are or are not getting can cause spikes in your systolic (the top number of a blood pressure reading) numbers therefore increasing your chances of preeclampsia. Women who got less than 5 hours of sleep at night increase their risk for preeclampsia ninefold and women who slept more than 10 hours at night during their first trimester increased their risk twofold.
It’s not easy being pregnant and can be quite difficult to get sleep once you hit your third trimester. I know this from experience. My son had stretched my belly so big that you would have thought I was having at least twins. When your belly is in the last trimester, your whole body is uncomfortable and it only gets worse until d-day. I ended up going days only being able to get little cat naps here that were courtesy of pure exhaustion. My midwife was very concerned and prescribed me a sleep aid. I never got to use it though because shortly after picking it up I went into labor.
There are many different things that you can do to try and get a good night sleep while you are pregnant. While you may not be able to go that far, take a walk and get some fresh air. Exercise is a great way to ensure some serious z’s later in the evening. I was doing 6 mile hikes through town until I hit about seven and a half months of my last pregnancy. I just couldn’t do it anymore and even standing was difficult.
Prenatal yoga is also wonderful for women. Not only are you doing some much needed stretching but you are also learning relaxation techniques that you can use after class at bed time and in the labor and delivery unit. It doesn’t matter how far in you are in your pregnancy or if you have yoga experience or not. The classes are very low key and if you have a good instructor they will keep an eye on you and help tailor the lesson as needed so you and everyone gets the most out of the class.
Read more on the study here.