Nurturing life Your reference in perinatal nutrition, from pregnancy to childhood

What are the factors affecting quality of sleep in pregnant women?

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By : Nurturing Life's Nutrition Team | Montreal Diet Dispensary
— Updated on :
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Hormonal changes, night urination, pregnancy discomfort and the baby’s movements are all factors that can disrupt a pregnant woman’s sleep.

Here is an explanation of the various factors that may affect sleep.

HORMONAL CHANGES

In early pregnancy, increased progesterone (hormone) causes fatigue which causes the mother to fall asleep at any time. In addition, these hormonal changes affect breathing, which predisposes pregnant women to snoring and sleep apnea.

URINATION

As the mother must manage the waste of her baby in addition to her own, her kidneys produce a lot of urine. In the last trimester, as the baby is heavier and often lower, it presses against the bladder, reducing its volume. The mother is often awakened by the urge to urinate.

DISCOMFORT AND BABY MOVEMENTS

The mother may feel the baby moving more, especially in the last trimester, because it has less and less space. The baby moving at night disrupts the mother’s sleep.

OTHER FACTORS THAT MAY DISTURB SLEEP

Other factors may prevent pregnant women from sleeping well:

  • Abdominal or back pain;
  • Calf cramps (English to follow);
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux;
  • Uncontrolled movement of the legs (restless legs syndrome);
  • Nightmares (normal at the 2nd and 3rd trimester);
  • Stress and anxiety;
  • Hunger.

The following article (English to follow) provides tips to help manage some of these factors.

References

  • Santiago J.R., Nolledo, M.S., Kinzler, W. et Santiago, T.V. (2001). Sleep and sleep disorders in pregnancy. Annals of Internal Medicine 134(5): 396-408.

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The Public Health Agency of Canada has contributed financially to the production of Nurturing Life.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.