18 May 2022 | 3 min Read
Author | 2578 Articles
Everyone knows that sleep (or lack of it) is possibly one of the biggest changes to come to terms with once your baby arrives. However, it is often shocking to many mothers that sleep can be such a challenging thing during pregnancy. If not careful, a mum could enter the world of motherhood drained before she has even started!
Why is sleep so crucial during pregnancy?
Sleep is necessary for everyone, pregnant or not. When people are tired we tend to be more irritable, seem to lack motivation, be not as productive at work and generally don’t feel as alive.
Lack of sleep can be dangerous too. A majority of accidents on the road are caused due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel, and even more due to lack of attention, which goes hand in hand with being tired. Other minor accidents are also more likely when you are weary as your attention span is shorter and you tend to be clumsier, which may result in trips and falls, or dropping heavy or fragile objects. Hence, when you are pregnant, sleep is more important than ever because you do not want to trip or risk dropping objects you’re holding.
Lack of sleep is often associated with an increase in the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, which is as dangerous as it sounds. It is also important that pregnant women are as well-rested as possible in order to ease them through the upcoming situations they’re about to face, i.e., of labour, childbirth and early motherhood. Labour is undeniably a very draining physical experience, so to go through it well-rested is the optimal state. Surveys show that women who usually get too little sleep at night towards their due date (less than 5 hours) generally have a longer labour session and/or a caesarian section. Consider the domino effect poor sleep will cause during pregnancy: a longer, more exhausting labour or caesarian section leading to a longer recovery period, all of this on top of having a newborn child to take care of!
Being home with your newborn will surely be exhausting, and you will be of great help to yourself and give yourself a headstart if you manage to get proper sleep through your final trimester. Naturally, your sleep pattern can’t be predicted once the baby arrives, but generally, newborns need to be fed between 8-12 times a day in the first month. Unfortunately, this feeding schedule is often spread evenly throughout the 24 hour period. Couple that with the nappy changes and the time spent bringing your baby at ease, and suddenly the stereotypical image of a new mother (permanently hunched in a dressing gown with baggy eyes) doesn’t seem so funny anymore.
Of course, every child is different and you’ll definitely have a lot of help from your loved ones, so this isn’t going to be an issue for most mothers, but being prepared for it won’t be a waste.