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Sleep in the Second Trimester

Your second trimester may be a welcome reprieve from the sleep disturbances during early pregnancy: Bathroom wake-up calls, sleep-sapping nausea, and an overwhelming desire for daytime naps can all wreak havoc on night-time slumber. It's also a chance to get those ZZZs you desperately need before third trimester bulk and other discomforts lead to sleep-deprived nights. Read on for more tips on getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy. For now, go ahead and get a good night's rest. The second trimester isn't called the honeymoon period for nothing.

Fatigue fades

Remember that overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that plagued you in the first trimester? Surging hormones probably played a role, but chances are, you're less likely to crave a catnap during the day now. That's a good thing because the same hormones that may have made you drowsy in the daytime can also interfere with sleep at night. Just enjoy that extra energy you have, knowing you'll spend plenty of time in dreamland at night.

Bathroom breaks subside

Your frequent need to pee is also probably a thing of the past because your baby is now residing comfortably above your bladder. That's more good news since it means you're less likely to wake up from a deep sleep with an urgent need to visit the bathroom.

Beware: Second-trimester sleep snatchers

Sleep in the second trimester is about as good as it gets in pregnancy, but that doesn't mean you'll slumber as long or as well as you did before you became pregnant. Your ability to get a decent night's sleep may be interrupted by second-trimester sleep stealers like leg cramps, snoring, and vivid dreams. And you still may be desperate to find a comfortable position for sleeping.

It may be best to sleep on your left side because this may increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your baby. Some women may not like sleeping on the left, so your doctor may advise you to sleep on the right, if that's the only way you can get some rest.

Here's a list of common complaints and what you can do to eliminate these sleep snatchers:

Cramps. To avoid waking up with painful leg cramps -- usually in your calf muscles -- do a few leg stretches before you retire for the night. Regular exercise may help keep cramps at bay. If you do get one, apply heat or massage to the affected area. Sometimes sleeping under heavy covers can make cramps worse, perhaps by restricting movement or by weighing down on your body. Try not to load up on blankets if you can help it.

Snoring. Approximately 30 percent of women snore while they're pregnant because of increased swelling in their nasal passages. This may not be music to your (or your partner's) ears, and it can prevent you from getting as much shuteye as you'd like. It may help to learn that this annoyance will more than likely go away once you have your baby. For now, try sleeping on your left side. If loud snoring and severe daytime sleepiness are a concern, talk with your health-care practitioner because this could be a sign of a more serious problem called sleep apnea.

Vivid dreams. Many women recall having intense dreams during their pregnancies, and even explicit sexual fantasies are not uncommon. Some dreams are obviously baby-related: Maybe you dream you're a mama cat raising kittens, or perhaps you have nightmares that you leave your newborn on the train. Don't worry. Such visions are perfectly normal. Your dreams give you the opportunity to work out any anxiety or apprehension, as well as experience the joy and excitement of approaching motherhood. You may want to keep track of your visions in a dream journal or share your nighttime musings with your partner.

Is your belly making it tough for you to settle down for the night? Try lying on your left side with your knees bent. Tuck one pillow under your tummy and another between your legs, or snuggle up alongside a long body pillow. If you're still wrestling with the bed covers, resting upright in a recliner may do the trick. With a little creativity you can probably get comfy, so try not to lose any sleep over it.

References

Mayo Clinic. The First Trimester: A Time of Invisible Transformation. http://www.mayoclinic.com/

National Sleep Foundation. Women & Sleep. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/publications/women.cfm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy. http://www.4woman.gov/Pregnancy/second.htm

Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Pregnancy & Childbirth: The Second Trimester. http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/ HealthLibrary/pregnant/second.html

Swedish Medical Center. Pregnancy and Sleep: A Contradiction In Terms. http://www.swedish.org/17294.cfm

Mayo Clinic. The Second Trimester: A renewed sense of well-being. http://www.mayoclinic.com/

American Pregnancy Association. Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/ pregnancyhealth/sleepingpositions.html

Mayo Clinic. Muscle cramp. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/muscle-cramp/DS00311

Postgraduate Medicine. Nocturnal leg cramps. Volume 111. Number 2. http://www.postgradmed.com/issues/ 2002/02_02/pn_legcramps.htm

Mayo Clinic. First Trimester: What to expect. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy/PR00004

Michaelson P., et al. Popular snore aids: do they work? OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery. Volume 130. Number 6.

Garfield, Patricia. Women's Bodies, Women's Dreams. Chapter Six: Pregnancy and Childbirth Dreams. Ballantine Books. Reprint edition

National Sleep Foundation. Women & Sleep. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/hottopics/

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