3 Tips for Surviving Pregnancy Fatigue
Many years ago, my oldest dachshund birthed a litter of chubby, ornery, perfect puppies. I was an overeager birthing coach, there every step of the way to ensure an easy pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum recovery. (I realize, without any shame believe it or not, I sound and/or am insane.) The point is, in being so involved, I barely slept for the 63 days of her gestation, and the eight weeks that followed the birth. While I’m sure I annoyed the ever-loving snot out of my completely capable dog, I wasn’t to be reasoned with and felt my involvement was crucial.
This experience hardened me. I became a “mom snob”. I rolled my eyes as women complained about their post partum fatigue.
“Um ladies, you were expecting to lose a little sleep once Junior was born, right?”
I knew from my puppy experience “exactly” what these women were going through, and truth be told, I wasn’t terribly sympathetic. In the grand scheme, this loss of sleep is temporary, expected, and by planning alone, could be circumvented to make the first few months of the baby’s life tolerable.
And then I got pregnant.
And… I haven’t slept in MONTHS.
I’m a walking zombie most every day and I don’t even have the baby yet!
My increased blood volume caused frequent overnight trips to the bathroom from the start. My boobs hurt so bad I swaddled them like delicate newborns and did my best not to twist abruptly in my sleep. As a back sleeper, I began “training” myself to sleep on my side in the middle of my of my first trimester, leaving me with hip pain that ensured I tossed and turned a majority of the night. In the second trimester, I got a teensy break from the constant overnight peeing, but was up all night anyway with anxiety about choosing names, feeling flutters, and bringing a baby into the world. And now, in the third trimester, I’m lucky to get two hours of half-sleep in between bathroom breaks, heartburn, leg cramps, pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, ongoing “to do” lists swirling in my head, and sheer discomfort. Tossing and turning is nearly impossible, as what little core strength I once had has been replaced by a core “basketball” that resists repositioning of most any kind.
So my former mom snobbery? Gone. Those women were EXHAUSTED loooooong before their babies ever arrived. Some people call the pregnancy fatigue “practice” for when the baby is born.
I hate those people.
I. Am. Tired.
And I don’t want to be a disheveled version of myself when our son arrives. So, in an effort to maximize my sleep, I’ve found the following helpful.
- Limit fluid intake two hours before bed.
- Elevate your feet (or other swollen appendages) when possible. This will help drain some of the fluid stored in your swollen body before you attempt to go to sleep, thus hopefully eliminating a bathroom trip or two.
- Get a pregnancy pillow! Right now! Or, at least invest in several pillows. Make a nest. Snuggle in. Sleeeeeeeep.
What sleep tips have worked for you? Share! We all deserve a little rest before D Day!
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