The invisible sleep disorders during pregnancy

Sleep deprivation during pregnancy can result in decreased health

Sleep deprivation during pregnancy can result in decreased health.

What you need to know:

  • Sleep deprivation during pregnancy can result in decreased health, increased rates of depression and anxiety, reduced energy levels, and more severe complications.
  • The anxiety of being a new mother can cause a lack of sleep, especially during the third trimester.

Pregnancy is a beautiful and exciting time in a woman's life. Feeling the baby move inside you, knowing that your body is changing to accommodate this tiny human can be exciting.

Sleep disorders during pregnancy are common because a woman's body goes through many changes, especially during the third trimester. These physical changes can make it harder for some women to get a good night's rest, particularly if they are experiencing pain or discomfort due to their changing bodies.

Sleep deprivation during pregnancy can result in decreased health, increased rates of depression and anxiety, reduced energy levels, and more severe complications. In this article, you will learn how lack of sleep affects mommy and baby and tips for getting better rest when pregnant.

Importance of good sleep during pregnancy

  • Good health for mom and baby
  • Less stress on the body during pregnancy
  • More energy to cope with physical changes of pregnancy, such as fatigue and swelling

Consequences of not getting enough sleep while pregnant

  • Increased risk of gestational diabetes
  • Higher risks of high blood pressure
  • Increased risks during labour and birth (for both mother and baby)
  • Decrease in cognitive function due to lack of sleep. This increases the chances of accidents, injuries, or even death while pregnant.

Symptoms of a sleep disorder during pregnancy

  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Snoring
  • Excessive tiredness during the day. In some severe cases, this may be accompanied by headaches and nausea

Causes of sleep disorders during pregnancy

Lack of sleep or having trouble sleeping during pregnancy is common. Various hormonal changes cause this. As a result, the expectant mother is likely to experience nausea, vomiting, frequent urge to urinate, leg cramps, tingling in the hands and feet, back pain, leg swelling, indigestion, heartburn, or shortness of breath.

The anxiety of being a new mother can cause a lack of sleep, especially during the third trimester.

The typical sleep disorders during pregnancy include

Restless legs syndrome

This is a sleep disorder that causes night-time sensations in the calves. It makes one feel like their lower extremities are jittery and unruly at night. The cause of this condition is not known. There is a belief that it may stem from an imbalance of dopamine - the brain chemical ordinarily responsible for maintaining smooth muscle movements and evenness throughout one's body as well as lucid dreaming ability.

There are two possible triggers in pregnant women with restless leg syndrome (RLS): Low folic acid intake or iron deficiency. In addition, the restless legs syndrome increases the chances of caesarean section type of delivery.

It is wise to consult the doctor for treatment or management of the sleep disorder.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder: 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially heartburn, is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. It may start at any time during a woman's nine-month gestation period and usually gets worse as she approaches her due date. Hormones during pregnancy cause the digestive system to slow down. Also, the growing uterus is likely to cause stomach acid to go up the oesophagus.

The reflux increases significantly when you lie down. This is a major cause of insomnia in expectant women.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of breathing disorder that disrupts airflow into and out of your lungs. It occurs when throat tissues block or obstruct airflow during sleep, resulting in abnormally low oxygen levels within your body. Hormonal changes can cause this. For example, Oestrogen creates a lot of mucus membrane swelling. In addition, maternal obesity might lead to laboured breathing.

This sleep disorder is harmful to the foetus and can cause other pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure and preterm labour.

Diagnosing a sleep disorder during pregnancy

If you are struggling with insomnia or another form of hypersomnia, it is best to consult your doctor. Your primary care physician should be able to help diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan. However, if you have been diagnosed with depression, the doctor can refer you to an obstetrician or family physician who is experienced in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.

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