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Help Your Child Get to Sleep and Stay There

Dr. Jodi Mindell

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The Second Trimester

"I finally feel human again, but now I'm waking up with excruciating leg cramps."
-Ronnie, 23 weeks pregnant

"I sailed through the first trimester, feeling great and sleeping well. Now I'm having problems sleeping, right at the time that all the books say I should be feeling at my best."
-Melissa, 17 weeks pregnant



The second trimester is often called the "honeymoon" period. It's the time when most women feel their best during pregnancy. You may now have the "looking great, feeling great" pregnancy glow. Most concerns about miscarriage have passed and you are likely feeling less nauseous and more energetic.

For many women, the second trimester is a time when sleep problems temporarily subside, although there are some women who find that their sleep is even more disrupted now than during the first trimester. Sleep issues that you may experience during this trimester include the need to change your sleep position, increasing discomfort, continuing need to urinate, and starting to feel the baby move. Other common pregnancy ailments may develop that interfere with sleep, such as nighttime leg cramps, back pain that makes it even harder to find a comfortable sleep position, and increasing nasal congestion.

But first, the good news...

The Good News

As MENTIONED, the second trimester is when most women look and feel their best during pregnancy. There are usually fewer concerns about your baby during the second trimester, and you've likely gotten used to the idea that you will soon have another member of your family. The same is true for seep. Most women sleep their best during the second trimester and feel better. There are a number of reasons:

FEWER TRIPS TO THE BATHROOM
During the second trimester, your uterus moves up from the pelvis and into your abdomen, so there is much less pressure on your bladder. Now that your bladder (temporarily) is no longer being compressed by your developing baby, you won't need to go to the bathroom as often, which means less waking to go pee in the middle of the night.

HORMONES ARE LEVELING OFF
Although your body is still producing progesterone, the levels are rising more slowly, so you are not feeling as sleepy during the day.

MORNING SICKNESS SUBSIDES
Most women find that any morning sickness they experienced during the first trimester starts to dissipate during the second trimester. This will help you feel more yourself during the day and help you sleep better at night. A warning, though: a few women experience morning sickness throughout much of their pregnancy. However, this is quite rare.

LESS DESIRE TO NAP DURING THE DAY
Just as you are likely sleeping better at night, you are also likely feeling more energetic during the day. Most women do not feel the overwhelming fatigue at this point their pregnancy as they did during the first trimester. You may be amazed to be feeling yourself again, with your old energy. Most women also feel less of a need to nap during the day. As important as it was to nap early on in your pregnancy, it may have also interfered with your nighttime sleep. So with fewer daytime naps you are also likely falling asleep faster and staying asleep during the night.

Don't Be Fooled...You Still Need Lots of Sleep

ALTHOUGH YOU ARE likely feeling much more energetic and more like yourself, don't try to pack it all in and try to do everything. Your body is still working overtime and you need to keep getting your rest. That includes getting lots of sleep at night and continuing to nap if you need the extra sleep.

...And Now for the Bad News

ALTHOUGH YOU ARE likely feeling more energetic and sleeping better at night during the second trimester, there are sleep issues that may continue or may develop during the second trimester. The recent National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America Poll 2007 indicates that many women are having problems sleeping during these months.





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