You know that sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re pregnant, sometimes it’s difficult to get enough rest due to discomfort or anxiety. However, if you’re suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders, you might want to consider the effects it could have on your pregnancy.
A new study found that women with sleeping disorders are more likely to have a premature birth than women without. According to an article in the New York Times, the study looked at over 2,000 women who gave birth between 2007 and 2012 with sleep disorders and compared them with 2000 women without sleep disorders.
The study found that, “women with sleep disorders had a 14.6 percent prevalence of preterm birth (a birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy) compared with 10.9 percent in those without a diagnosis.” Additionally, women with insomnia had a 30 percent increased risk and women with sleep apnea had a 40 percent increased risk of having a premature birth, compared to women without either disorder.
If you’re pregnant and experiencing poor sleep or have a diagnosed sleeping disorder, we suggest reaching out to an OB/GYN at Women’s Care Florida. Although a lack of sleep is common among pregnant women, if you have a serious issue, it could become problematic.
To learn more about this study, click here.
“How are you doing?”
“Ugh. Me, too.”
Sound familiar? Work, family, home… if just thinking about all of your responsibilities is enough to make you crave a nap, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 16% of women ages 18-64 report being “very tired” or “exhausted” on most days. Why so fatigued? That’s a question with many possible answers.
Before we explore some of the most common reasons for exhaustion in women, consider how long it has been since your last well-woman visit. If it has been more than a year and you’re experiencing consistent fatigue, you may want to consider scheduling an exam. You can find a Women’s Care Florida physician here.
DIET: We all know that a healthy diet is important to good physical and mental health, but did you know that unhealthy eating habits are linked to fatigue? Junk foods that are high in sugar and fat can cause your blood sugar to soar and then quickly crash, leaving you sluggish and tired. Eating too little food can also cause a dip in blood sugar. To sustain energy levels, it’s recommended you skip the junk food and eat small, healthy meals throughout the day. You can learn more about nutrition to promote healthy lifestyles here.
Fatigue can also be a sign of dehydration. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommend that women consume 91 ounces (just over 11 cups) of fluid through drink and food every day. And while you can count caffeinated beverages toward your daily fluid intake, you’ll want to limit the amount you consume. Caffeine can have a detrimental impact on your adrenal glands, worsening possible adrenal fatigue.
HEART DISEASE: Fatigue is one of the warning signs of heart disease, the number one killer of women. When the heart can’t pump enough blood, the blood is diverted from other organs to send to the heart and brain; this leads to a lack of energy. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, have a family history of heart problems or suffer from other health risks, it is important to report fatigue, or any other unusual symptoms, to your physician.
PREGNANCY: A hallmark of early pregnancy, exhaustion is a common symptom in the first trimester as the body adapts to numerous physical changes. While most women regain their level of energy in mid-pregnancy, the third trimester is often marked with a resurgence of increased fatigue. For a list of helpful tips on how to beat fatigue during pregnancy, such as eating every four hours and staying hydrated, click here.
SLEEP: It’s probably not surprising to hear that lack of sleep is a major cause of fatigue. A gender and stress reportput out by the American Psychological Association states that only 33 percent of women report getting enough sleep, despite the fact that 75% of them believe it’s important. And a study by the National Sleep Foundation reports that women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
How can you get the 7-9 hours of sleep recommended for adults? The National Sleep Foundation suggests you follow their healthy sleep tips which include sticking to a sleep schedule, practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual and exercising daily. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that temporarily stops your breathing throughout the night and leads to fatigue.
THYROID: Simply explained, the thyroid is a small gland in your neck that controls your metabolism, which controls the way your body uses energy. When the thyroid is producing too many hormones (hyperthyroidism), you can experience exhaustion. Conversely, if the thyroid is producing too few hormones (hypothyroidism), you can also experience exhaustion. Either way, it’s important to share any symptoms of thyroid disease with your doctor; blood tests can reveal if there is a health issue. Keep in mind, women are more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
AND ALL THE REST… Although we’ve shared five possible reasons for fatigue, there are others you may want to be aware of, including anemia, diabetes, depression, medications and stress. It is important you talk with your doctor about persistent fatigue and other reoccurring problems or symptoms, especially when it’s not managed by good diet and sleep habits.
If you’re experiencing fatigue or exhaustion, schedule a well-woman visit at Women’s Care Florida, or find a physiciannear you.
You’ve probably heard all the advice in the book about getting sleep when you have a newborn baby:
“Sleep when they sleep!”
“Rock her to sleep.”
“Never rock her to sleep!”
“Always get up when they cry.”
“Just let them cry it out.”
But not all advice works for all parents or babies. As long as you are following American Academy of Pediatrics rules for safe sleep, anything goes to help sleep deprived moms get more sleep.
At Women’s Care Florida, we’ve seen our share of sleepy new moms. Our experts suggest trying out these three tactics to improve your sleep and your health.
Share nighttime care responsibilities
You and your partner can get more sleep by sharing who takes care of the baby during the night. You might take the 11 p.m. feeding while your husband takes the 3 a.m. feeding. Or you can trade off who is in charge of getting up every other night. These set-ups not only help you more equally share parenting responsibilities, it ensures that you get a good night of sleep at least every other night, helping reduce sleep deprivation.
If you don’t have a partner to share nighttime duties with, consider asking a close family member or friend for help when your child is very young. Some babysitters are also willing to work nights to help you sleep.
Make your own bedtime routine
When you know you have to get up in two hours to feed the baby again, it can be hard to fall asleep. You need to create healthy sleep habits and routines to help your mind fall into restful sleep. Your routine might include:
- Taking a warm bath after your child’s last feeding
- Reading for 30 minutes before sleep
- Changing into pajamas earlier in the night
- Following the same steps for sleep every night such as last feeding, brush your teeth, wash your face, go to bed
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day
- Listening to white noise when you lie down for bed
You will also want to follow rules of good sleep hygiene such as:
- Keep screens out of your bedroom
- Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol within three hours of bedtime
- Avoid food within three hours of bedtime
Adapt to your family’s needs
Before you have a baby, you might be certain that you want your baby to room in with a bassinet. You might be certain you will exclusively breastfeed, no bottles at all. But when the baby comes, these plans might not turn out to be what is best for your family.
If you or your family is losing sleep because of the new baby, try new tactics to help you all rest more easily. If rooming in doesn’t work, move the baby to their own room and crib. If you just can’t stand another 3 a.m. feeding, pump milk earlier in the day so someone else can feed the baby during the night. By adapting your plans, you’ll be able to find the right sleeping habits to keep both you and baby happy.
For more postpartum health advice and care, contact Women’s Care Florida. Our experts have helped thousands of women maintain good health as new moms.