Insomnia in Pregnancy – My Experience
I was about to birth a baby, but I'd already birthed sleeping trouble!
Sleeping when pregnant isn't easy. Sleeping when pregnant with insomnia is, of course, even harder!
A major move mid-pregnancy
I was excited and worried throughout the pregnancy. My worries were not only about having responsibility for a little tiny person but also about a mid-pregnancy international move from the USA to Sweden (where it would not get properly dark until many months past my due date!).
Sleep challenges through the trimesters
My child is nearly a man now, but I vividly remember the challenges I faced in getting decent sleep during each trimester. Nightly snack runs – mandatory ones – interrupted my sleep in the early months. I would wake with reflux and need to eat.
My second was growing discomfort in my back due to my shape change – and it seemed I could hardly walk upstairs without getting puffed!
The third was, well, just uncomfortable. It was hot and humid, I was far from family, and I was getting big!
What helped my insomnia during pregnancy
I wanted to share some of the things I did to help my insomnia and my pregnancy-related sleeping trouble.
Firstly, I used a million pillows. For obvious reasons, I couldn't sleep on my front anymore, and side sleeping felt awkward until I propped myself up between the knees and under my bump.
Keeping snacks close by
Instead of getting up to get my snack, I brought the snacks to me. Usually, people with insomnia are advised against "nesting" in the bedroom too much – but it was getting tricky (dangerous?) for me to wobble around half asleep looking for crackers in the kitchen to keep my reflux at bay.
I definitely noticed the more physical I was, the better my sleep was. This continued, and I think because of my growing size (and shared circulation!), the exercise was that much harder as I got bigger, and so I had to do less. This suited me down to the ground!
Lowering my stress
I found the tendency to "nest" as the baby approached his due date helped me keep organised, which reduced my stress level. The move was chaos! Lowering stress is important not only for our mental wellbeing – but the health of the baby too.
Letting go of control
I also had to face up to and accept that I couldn't control everything, plan everything or have it all my way. I think there were some instinctual drives for "safety" that made me feel compelled to do this, but as I came to accept the situation, my sleep dramatically improved.
One of the other things that impacted my sleep was snoring. I never snored – and don't now – but the impact of weight gain and my soft tissues softening in preparation for birth meant that I started to snore. Some women will develop apnea – and so it's important to talk to your doctor about snoring like this.
Thankfully mine was short-lived, and at the end of my pregnancy, so it didn't last very long or have an impact on my health or sleep long term.
Did you have insomnia during your pregnancy? What was that like for you, and how did you cope with those 2 challenges together?
Which of the following have you tried to help with insomnia?