Sleep Tips for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy brings different types of discomforts and health issues. Sleeplessness, snoring, nausea, morning sickness, leg cramps, heartburn etc. are some common problems that afflict almost all pregnant women. Due to lack of sleep, most expectant mothers suffer from fatigue, feeling low etc. As pregnancy progresses, women find it difficult to sleep due to uncomfortable sleeping positions. Each trimester brings different types of sleep problems.


Some factors that can cause sleep problems during pregnancy:

  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Physical discomforts
  • Frequent urination
  • Heartburn
  • Leg cramps


Proper sleep is very essential for expectant mothers to pass the day feeling fresh and full of energy. In case, the sleep problems are severe, it would be best to consult your obstetrician.

Follow these tips for proper sleep at night.

  • Minimize fluid intake before bedtime: It is very essential for a pregnant woman to remain hydrated. So, drink plenty of water during the day and cut down your fluid intake before going to bed. This will minimize frequent urinations during the night.
  • Exercise regularly: To improve circulation of blood, it is very essential to keep moving. You can do pregnancy exercises, as well. Proper circulation of blood will reduce leg cramps letting you sleep well at night. Exercising regularly also helps in improving mental health.
  • Drink warm milk: Drinking a glass of milk before going to bed provides good sleep.
  • Have nutritious food: Foods rich in carbohydrates like crackers, bread etc. help in promoting sleep. Eat a healthy and well balanced diet throughout your pregnancy.
  • Avoid heavy meal: Before going to bed, avoid having a heavy meal. During the day, have small meals but frequently.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks: During pregnancy, it would be best to avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol etc. Besides ensuring better sleep it will also be good for your baby’s health.
  • Take a warm bath: Before going to bed, have a warm bath. It will help you feel refreshed and sleep properly.
  • Relaxation techniques: Use relaxation techniques at home or join yoga or birthing classes to learn other relaxation techniques to improve your sleep.
  • Follow a routine: Adopt a routine like having a glass of milk or caffeine free tea before going to bed. Fix a time for going to bed and waking up in the morning; it will help you to have a good sleep.
  • Use pillows: You can use pregnancy pillows while sleeping.
  • Sleep in comfortable positions: Try to sleep comfortably and after the 20th week of pregnancy, sleep on the left side to ensure proper circulation of blood.


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Anaemia During Pregnancy

Anaemia (Greek: an=without and haem=blood) is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet the needs of the body. Anaemia may be due to i) blood loss, ii) decreased red cell production or iii) increased red cell destruction.

The diagnosis of anaemia is based on the haemoglobin concentration in the blood. Haemoglobin is the protein in the red cells that carries oxygen to the tissues. Iron is required for the synthesis of haemoglobin. In addition, vitamin B12 and folic acid are also needed for the production of red cells. A lack of any of these can lead to anaemia, the most common being iron-deficiency anaemia. Requirements for iron in pregnancy are three times higher than in non-pregnant women and the requirement increases as pregnancy advances. Worldwide, one third of pregnant women are anaemic.


Certain conditions put the mother at greater risk of anaemia:

  • Pre-pregnancy anaemia
  • Malnutrition
  • Inadequate spacing between pregnancies
  • Pregnancy with twins or triplets
  • Inadequate iron supplementation


Symptoms of anaemia

The most common symptoms of anaemia are:

  • Weakness and easy fatigability
  • Awareness of heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale lips and skin

Some of them overlap with general pregnancy symptoms. However, regardless of symptoms, all pregnant women should be screened for anaemia. If anaemia becomes severe, it might be harmful to the mother as well as the baby. Poor work capacity, susceptibility to infection, heart failure, premature and low birth weight babies, excessive bleeding after delivery are some of the complications associated with anaemia in pregnancy.

Prevention and treatment of anaemia

  • Ensuring normal haemoglobin level before conception
  • Iron-rich foods: dark green leafy vegetables, red meat, eggs, peanuts, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified foods, dried fruits such as apricots and raisins
  • Pairing iron-rich food or iron tablets with a food or drink high in vitamin C (lemon juice, citrus fruits or strawberries) can enhance the absorption of iron
  • Calcium, on the other hand, decreases iron absorption and should not be taken in combination with iron-rich food or tablets
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 should also be supplemented if found deficient
  • Women who are intolerant to oral iron tablets may be advised iron injections
  • Women suffering from severe anaemia may need blood transfusion



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