A pregnant woman needs more sleep than she does when she's not pregnant. In most cases, 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night will help you feel better. When you see your doctor, one of the first tests he or she will do is a hematocrit (a blood test) to check for anemia, which can also be a reason for feeling tired.
Most women find it's harder to get comfortable as their pregnancy progresses. Lying directly on your stomach isn't a good idea. It puts a lot of pressure on your growing uterus, which will be a comfort problem later. The bigger you get, the harder it is to lie on your stomach.
Experiment with different positions when you rest. Lie on your side, with a pillow under your abdomen. Elevate your head and shoulders. Try to find a comfortable position. See the box on this page.
If experimenting with different positions doesn't help much, and you can't sleep enough at night to make yourself feel better, try taking naps during the day. If you can't nap, sit down and relax—listen to music or read, if that helps. When you relax, prop your feet above your chest, if possible, to help with swelling and to ease discomfort in your legs.
Feelings of stress aren't uncommon during pregnancy. They can make it hard to rest or sleep. Fortunately you can take steps to manage stress. The following breathing exercise can help you relax.
|Inhale slowly as you count to 4. Push out your abdomen as you breathe in.
|Let your shoulders and neck relax as you slowly exhale while counting to 6.
|Repeat as often as you need to.
|Hint: Play gentle, soothing music as you practice this exercise.
Another stress-reliever I recommend is to relax each muscle group with each deep breath. Start with the feet and work up through the legs, hands, arms, torso, shoulders, neck and face. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. This exercise also helps when you're having trouble getting to sleep.