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With Mother’s Day around the corner, maybe Mom (or the mom to be) may only want the gift of good sleep this year. From the first stages of pregnancy to raising kids, a mother’s sleep frequently changes.
For most women, sleep can be challenging during pregnancy. General discomfort, fluctuating hormones, and anxiety about being a new mom often lead to a plethora of sleep-related issues. It’s believed that at least 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from insomnia, yet sleep is key for proper prenatal care. For the soon to be mother, sleepless nights end up leading to chronic fatigue and frequent sleepiness. It’s often overlooked that sleep is essential to memory, education, appetite, and decision-making – all of which are necessary when preparing for baby.
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Aromatherapy has been around for centuries. It's simply inhaling or using essential oils on the skin for restorative health and wellness purposes. When inhaled, the scent molecules in the essential oils travel from the nerves in your nose directly to the amygdala, the area of our brain that controls emotions. Be sure to check with your doctor to learn which may be good for you and which should be avoided during pregnancy.
Baths before bed are a proven way to help relax and prepare for sleep. A warm bath taken 1-2 hours before bedtime can help regulate your core body temperature and improve your sleep. Be sure the water temperature is below 100 degrees before getting in the tub, as pregnant women shouldn’t let their core body temperature exceed 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
A relaxing massage is a wonderful way to wind down and clear the mind before bed. Direct your partner to gently massage your shoulders, back, feet, or any other area of the body that’s bothering you. If lying on your side, tuck cushions around you to keep your body aligned, and try placing a pillow between your knees for additional support.
Once that bundle of joy arrives, moms often get even less sleep due to frequent feedings, diaper changes, and the sounds of a fussy baby. Here’s how to maximize your sleep schedule as new mom:
Newborns take frequent naps, lasting anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. New parents are often severely sleep deprived if the only sleep they can get is during the night. So, sleep when the baby naps!
Work with your partner to share feedings and diaper changes. Mothers who breastfeed should also work and arrange to pump breast milk so their spouse can give the bottle to the baby during the night, allowing mom to get some extra shut-eye.
Placing the baby’s bassinet/crib next to your bed makes it easier to tend to the baby and then go back to sleep. While co-sleeping with your baby may seem like a good idea, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it because of an advanced risk of SIDS and the risk of suffocating the baby.
Keep Reading - Read Women, Improve Your Sleep to Recharge Your Life.