The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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“Women in their second trimester tend to sleep better,” says sleep researcher Meena Khan, M.D., a professor at the Ohio State University Medical School in Columbus. (Your body undergoes its most dramatic metabolic changes in the first trimester.) Still, you might not be sleeping like a baby yet.
Heartburn- Queasiness usually subsides, but reflux, um, rises. “The growing uterus places pressure on the stomach, forcing acid up into the esophagus,” explains Hoffman. Lying down in bed aggravates the burn.
Leg Cramps- Though worse in your third trimester, disquieting cramps (usually in the calf) that can startle you awake and keep you up in the wee hours begin now.
Vivid Dreams- “As the pregnancy progresses, some women get more anxious,” says Hoffman. Stressing about the baby’s growth, your parenting abilities, finances—or anything else—can produce some disturbing dreams, which will almost certainly interfere with your good night’s rest. Forgetting the baby somewhere is a classic one.
Stay Upright For Four Hours After Eating- The digestive process takes a lot longer during pregnancy, and sitting up will help keep stomach acids where they belong. “Lying down and watching TV after dinner is not a good idea,” Hoffman says. You may want to start eating bigger breakfasts and lighter dinners if heartburn is keeping you awake.
Avoid Heartburn-Inducing Foods- These include spicy, fried and acidic foods, including tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices and coffee.
Limit Or Avoid Carbonated Drinks- “A calcium imbalance can lead to leg cramps,” Lee says. The phosphorous in bubbly beverages (including soda water) decreases the amount of calcium you’re able to metabolize, so stay away from them. In addition, make sure you’re getting enough calcium; good food sources include dairy products; dark-green, leafy vegetables; and canned salmon with bones.
Nip A Cramp In The Bud- If you do get a painful leg cramp, flex your foot (extend your heel and point your toes toward your head; do not point your toes).
Make Relaxation a Priority- Easier said than done, but a quieter mind will ensure a better night’s sleep. Experts suggest meditation, prenatal yoga or other relaxation techniques; soaking in warm baths; eating tryptophan-rich foods such as turkey, milk and bananas (this amino acid turns into mood-soothing serotonin in the brain); enrolling in a parenting class now so that you feel better able to care for a newborn; and seeing a counselor if you’re losing sleep due to anxiety-riddled dreams.