How Much Sleep Should Pregnant Women Get?

By Susan Revermann
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As though growing a baby isn’t hard enough, sleeping comfortably, deeply and long enough can pose a real problem for some pregnant women. However, you can put some effort into preparing your body for rest and aiming to get the right amount of sleep. Your body will thank you for the extra effort.

Recommended Amount of Sleep

The average adult should get about seven to eight hours of sleep per night, according to MayoClinic.com. Pregnant women may need a bit more; shoot for about nine hours. Try to stick to a sleep schedule, going to bed at approximately the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Try to squeeze in a nap during the day, if at all possible.

Why You Need Extra Sleep

When you are pregnant, your body is working overtime. During the first trimester, you may notice that you want to sleep more than normal. This is the time when the placenta is still forming, your hormones are changing dramatically, your body is making more blood and your heart is beating faster and harder than it did before you were pregnant. Women in the third trimester often complain of being tired but unable to get deep, uninterrupted sleep due to discomfort, leg cramps, backaches, heartburn, constipation and shortness of breath. In addition, waking up numerous times to go to the bathroom due to the increased pressure on your bladder can be a sleep killer as well.

Effects of Too Little Sleep

Not only does pregnancy do a number on your concentration, memory and coordination, but lack of sleep can make the situation worse. According to WebMD.com, when you don’t get enough sleep, your judgment can become impaired, you may feel more depressed than normal, your immune system can weaken and your sex drive can be affected.

Safe Relaxing Techniques

To help increase your chances of drifting off for some much-needed rest, try some safe nighttime rituals. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks -- or at least restrict them to morning consumption. Even though you need lots of fluids throughout the day, try to avoid drinking anything a couple of hours before bedtime. Exercise earlier in the day and avoid evening workouts. Many pregnant women find that yoga and mediation can calm the mind and body. Find a comfortable sleep position, if you can; lying on your left side with your knees bent is best, says the National Sleep Foundation. A pillow between the knees and behind your back may help you feel more comfortable as well.