Sleep never comes easy when you’re pregnant, and every trimester has its own sleep challenges. So while you wake up every now and then to urinate in the first trimester, the second one keeps you awake due to your growing belly and the emotional stress you undergo. Frequent nighttime urination makes a comeback in the third. Additionally, your baby becomes quite big and is more active now, which makes sleeping even more difficult.

But all said and done, sleep is crucial for you as well as your baby’s overall growth and development. Lack of sleep can cause memory loss, difficulty in cognitive functioning and other health complications, which can negatively impact your unborn baby’s health. Here’s how lack of sleep affects your baby’s health.

Pregnancy Sleep & Your Baby’s Health
Sleep deprivation make your hormones go haywire, which can cause developmental issues in the fetus. Disturbances in your sleep can reduce the flow of oxygen that reaches your fetus, leading to deceleration of the heart beat, which can be life-threatening. Here are some other ways in which sleep can affect your body:

  • Results In Birth-Related Complications: Women who sleep less than five hours during pregnancy have a high risk of various birth-related complications and a ten-fold increased risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure levels), resulting in organ damage and fetal death. (Also Read: 9 Months Pregnant: What Is Happening Inside Your Body)
  • Increases Blood Pressure: When you sleep your blood pressure falls by 10 to 20 percent. Getting fewer hours of sleep will give you a higher than average blood pressure in a 24 hour cycle. Though it might not be a lot on a daily basis, when taken together it is enough to affect your heart functions.
  • Changes Hormonal Levels: Less than eight hours of sleep can cause a fluctuation in hormonal levels, especially endothelin and vasopressin, which can widen your blood vessels and alter the blood pressure levels.
  • Affects Your Immunity: Sleep deprivation can lead to an overproduction of the molecules cytokines, which can harm your body’s immunity. They can disrupt the spinal arteries that connect to the placenta and lead to complications such as premature birth and postpartum depression.
  • Leads To Brain Damage: Less sleep can permanently damage your memory and increase your risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer and gestational diabetes.

Tips That Can Aid In Sleep
The following tips will help you get a peaceful sleep.

  • Go to bed a few hours before your normal time to let your body relax.
  • Practice meditation and deep-breathing exercises to calm your body and prepare you for sleep.
  • Eat a light meal that keeps you full but not bloated.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks or sodas.
  • Do some light exercises in the evening or after dinner to ease digestion. Ask your doctor to know the exercise that suits you best.
  • Make sure your room is clutter-free, properly ventilated, quiet and does not have any distractions such as a TV, computer or other gadgets.
  • Have a glass of lukewarm milk before bedtime, which acts as a natural sleep aid.

If nothing helps, get in touch with your medical practitioner.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Pregnancy & Babycare here.

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A pregnancy & babycare writer as well as wellness believer, Debolina is always trying to bring in health and wellness into her family’s, especially her kids’, lives. With a Master’s degree in English literature, she has worked with several mothercare and babycare brands. In her free time, she helps with campaigns that work towards promoting the health and well-being of women and babies. Her experiences as a mother help her talk about busy modern-day parenting and its changing trends.