Everyone expects to have problems getting a good night’s sleep after having a baby, but a staggering 78% of women experience sleep problems at some point during pregnancy.
From nausea and heartburn to frequent urination, heartburn, body aches, and even unusual dreams, pregnancy affects every part of a woman’s body and can make it incredibly difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
If you suffer from pain and aches during pregnancy, you may be wondering if the body supports like a maternity belt can help you get some much-needed rest.
Let’s learn about how pregnant women can sleep better, and answer the question, ”can I wear a maternity belt while sleeping”.
Why Is it Hard to Sleep During Pregnancy?
A woman’s body undergoes many changes that can make it difficult to sleep during pregnancy. Here are just a few of the things that affect sleep throughout a pregnancy:
While many of the most dramatic physical changes are experienced later in pregnancy, the huge changes in hormones can affect sleep during the first trimester.
Women can experience nausea, a frequent need to urinate, and also simple aches, pains, and body fatigue.
While the second trimester can be easier from a hormonal perspective, there are still associated causes of insomnia and disturbed sleep.
Increased pressure on the stomach can cause heartburn, which worsens at night. Many women also experience leg cramps that begin in the second trimester and interfere with sleep.
The weight of the baby can make it difficult to sleep during the third trimester.
Frequent urination from pressure on the bladder, shortness of breath from pressure in your chest when laying down, and hip and back pain from pressure on the spine can all cause difficult, restless nights.
Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome can all worsen in the third trimester as well.
Can I Wear a Maternity Belt while Sleeping?
A maternity belt can support the weight of the stomach, reducing pressure on the lower back and making women more comfortable. But can a pregnancy belt be worn when sleeping? The answer is no.
Pregnancy belts should only be worn for 2-3 hours a day at most.
Over-using a maternity belt can contribute to weakness and inflexibility in muscular and connective tissues that women need during labor and recovery, and, in some cases, can pose a risk to the baby.
While a maternity belt may provide greater comfort for short periods during the day, here are some better ways to get a good night’s sleep while pregnant:
Use a Maternity Pillow
There are many pillows available specifically designed to help pregnant women get a comfortable night’s sleep.
Body pillows can be used to support the stomach, or wedges can be used to support the knees. Maternity pillows can also be a great solution for stomach sleepers, who have particular difficulties with sleeping while pregnant.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is practically a solution to everything. It is good for the muscles, joints, and heart and lungs. It improves mood and cognition. It eases labor and recovery.
And it also helps to reduce insomnia and make it easier to sleep at night.
Limit Caffeine and Water Late in the Day
Whether you are pregnant or not, having caffeine late in the day often interferes with sleep. Try to only have caffeinated beverages before noon.
Drinking too much water late in the day can also lead to late-night urination, particularly for pregnant women. Try to stop drinking water a couple of hours before going to bed, to sleep more deeply.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of sleeplessness and insomnia. While it isn’t easy to simply reduce the factors that cause stress in our lives, taking time for calming activities like meditation or journaling can help to manage stress and improve sleep quality.
Increase Calcium and Potassium Intake
Calcium and potassium can help to reduce the leg cramps so many pregnant women experience, but magnesium is essential for the body to process calcium.
Take a supplement with all three nutrients, or eat foods that are high in all three, like tree nuts, navy beans, summer squash, citrus fruits, and stone fruits.
If you are experiencing consistent pain or a troubling lack of sleep, always talk with your doctor.
Your doctor can rule out medical causes for these concerns, and advise you on the best way to sleep better during pregnancy. Do not wear a pregnancy support belt overnight.