Insomnia In Pregnant Women Can And Should Be Treated

Clinical health psychologists are urging pregnant women to treat their insomnia to improve both their and their babies’ health. It’s important to distinguish between just not being able to sleep properly for a few nights and full-blown insomnia. Regardless, consistent good-quality sleep is essential to the baby’s development and the mother’s health.

The issue with insomnia during pregnancy is that it can be difficult to identify. Many women have an overactive bladder, so they get up multiple times during the night to use the toilet. Others find it quite difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. These factors contribute to a mildly disrupted sleep pattern in pregnant women, but they are not signs of insomnia. Because of this, many cases of insomnia are dismissed as just a disrupted sleeping schedule.

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In reality, insomnia affects more than 20% of expecting mothers. The condition is then left untreated, and women turn to alternative (and often expensive) products to remedy the issue. While some may lull them to sleep for a while, these methods usually have fleeting effects. The use of sleeping pills are highly discouraged during pregnancy, and women are reluctant to take medication because they’re afraid of the effects on the baby.

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Psychologists suggest cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) to treat the condition in pregnant women. The program helps reduce the intrusive thoughts and behaviours that inhibit an expecting mother from sleeping properly. Experts found that within four to five weeks of CBT-I, most pregnant women reported better sleep. What’s even better is that the benefits of it will last beyond the duration of the pregnancy.

Other than CBT-I, psychologists recommend a few other things to help with the insomnia. Keeping track of your sleep and sticking to the schedule are keys to resetting your biological rhythms. Waking up and sleeping at around the same time every day will make mornings easier. It’s also important to only use your bed for sleep. Working or spending a lot of time on your phone while in bed can make it difficult to compartmentalize activity from sleep. It’s better to scroll through Instagram on your couch before putting down your phone and going to bed.

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