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Pregnancy Sleep
by Rebecca Garland

Pregnancy is a complicated animal, and the things it does to your sleep are among the more irritating aspects of pregnancy.

Your doctor and friends tell you to get as much sleep as possible as this is an exhausting process and your body needs rest. In the first trimester, your body has its own plans for sleep. You’d sleep all day if you could, and some days you do – only to wake up feeling that lovely morning sickness.

But by the third trimester, your body feels like its running on fumes, but sleep becomes elusive. In the first trimester, your baby was developing, and that takes a lot of your system. In the third trimester, your little one is growing by leaps and bounds, and the strain of carrying around the extra weight and conditions are exhausting. You need your sleep – so why can’t you get it?

Your Bladder
The first sleep deprivation technique of the third trimester is to give you a weak bladder that is always full. You wake up at least once, possibly two or three times during the night to use the restroom, and even though you can get there and go in the pitch black darkness, you’re still having to heave yourself out of your pillow nest and walk to and fro each time.

Your Rolling Stomach
Often when you lay down at night, you realize that you can’t fall asleep on an empty stomach. So up you go again for a glass of milk or some toast just so that you can fall asleep easily. If you’re lucky, you have a partner willing to fetch you a bite of something to eat or drink, and it’s amazing the difference you feel when your stomach is content to digest and your mind is at ease.

Your Heartburn
Heartburn is that horrible acid burning feeling in your chest and the back of your throat. Some women experience heartburn throughout pregnancy, and others just get a taste of it now and then near the end. But many women, even if they don’t normally experience heartburn during the day, get to enjoy it at night.

When you lay down to sleep, acid from your stomach simply finds its way up to bless you with some serious heartburn. It can be so intense that it wakes you up. If you’re suffering from heartburn, try taking an antacid before bed, and then make a nest of pillows so that you’re fully supported yet propped up to sleep. If you have a comfortable recliner, that might be an option as well. Propping yourself up to sleep helps to reduce heartburn.

Your Calves
If you’ve never had a Charley horse, you’ll hate them as much as everyone else when you do experience one. A Charley horse is a spasmodic cramp that you usually get in your calves during pregnancy. The cramp comes on like a wave and can last for minutes of excoriating tightness and pain that you can’t stop. These cramps seem to strike most during the night, but you can help ward them off by consuming plenty of potassium.

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