Dreaming of Sleep | Fit Pregnancy

Dreaming of Sleep

Getting the sleep you need when you're pregnant comes with its own set of challenges.

At eight weeks pregnant, Amy Aulson couldn't get enough sleep. The 35-year-old financial services director often slept a solid 12 hours each night, yet still struggled to stay awake at work. "I felt like I could fall asleep right at my desk," says Aulson. But nearing her ninth month of pregnancy, she was lucky to sleep three hours at a time—in between frequent bathroom visits, pillow repositioning and bouts of heartburn.

According to a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey, by the end of their pregnancies, 97 percent of women say they wake up during the night. And that's a problem. "During sleep, your body rebuilds its immunities, which is especially important for pregnant women," says neurologist Frisca Yan-Go, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in California. Plus, a pregnant woman's super-charged metabolism means she needs rest even more.

Lack of sleep also may impact labor and delivery, research suggests. First-time mothers who slept six hours or less in their ninth month of preg-nancy were more likely to experience prolonged labor than women who slept seven hours or more, and they were five times more likely to have a Cesarean section, according to research from the University of California, San Francisco.

Here are the causes and solutions for pregnancy-related sleep woes, as well as what you need to know about your baby's sleep later—because if he sleeps well, so will you.

Sleep Like a Baby
Slumber Secrets
Q & A: What Parents Want to Know About Baby's Sleep
When Rocking, Patting and Singing Don't Work
SIDS Update: How Genes and Environment Interact
Sleep Close
Battle of the Baby Sleep Experts

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