Exercise and Sleep During Pregnancy
Have a bad case of the yawns? There’s a reason for your tiredness. You’re building another whole body, and it’s taking a lot of your energy. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have little energy for exercise and find it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
5 ways to re-energise
Follow these practical tips to stay fit and overcome fatigue.
1. Exercise regularly
- Certain exercise is generally safe during your pregnancy – it’s a great way to relax and will help you prepare for what lies ahead in child birth. Consult your doctor before starting any new regime;
- Find an activity you enjoy and build it into your schedule;
- Try doing a pregnancy pilates or pregnancy yoga class – these can help tone and strengthen those specific muscles you’ll be using during birth and with a newborn;
- Swimming is a great pregnancy exercise as the water supports your growing belly comfortably and you can adjust your pace to suit the stage of your pregnancy;
- Take a brisk walk before dinner. This will also help you relax and make it easier for you to sleep;
- Don’t strain yourself – it’s perfectly safe to exercise provided you don’t push yourself too hard;
- Stay within weight gain guidelines. The heavier you are, the more tired you’ll feel;
2. Manage your activity
- Pull up a chair. Whether on the job or doing household chores, take a seat when you need to, don’t over do it.
- Prioritise activities and cut out nonessential chores;
- Reassess your socialising and ask family and friends not to call late in the evening. Explain that you’re trying to get plenty of rest before your baby arrives;
- Try to do restful activities just before bed. Try a bath, a massage, reading or a walk in the garden or around the block. Avoid falling asleep in front of the TV or spending a lot of time online.
- Sleep problems can be linked to anxiety, which increases as the birth approaches. Make the most of antenatal classes to prepare yourself and help you relax;
- Raise your concerns with your healthcare practitioner – knowing the answers to common questions can make you feel much more confident and relaxed.
4. Manage your sleep
- Nap during the day. Even if it’s only a catnap of 15 minutes, cuddle up under a rug and let yourself drift off. Don’t worry – this won’t stop you sleeping at night;
- During the later stages of pregnancy, sleeping on one side with a pillow under your tummy and one between your knees may help you sleep better;
- Go to bed at regular times;
- Make sure that your bedroom is tidy and well ventilated, as this will help you sleep and breath easy;
- If these solutions don’t work, talk to your healthcare practitioner.
5. Manage your diet
- Eat frequent, small meals. They’ll give you energy all day. Choosing lighter meals will make it more comfortable as your room inside dwindles as your baby grows bigger;
- Power lunch. Boost your energy with sliced chicken breast or a bowl of split-pea soup that’s high in iron and protein and won’t let you down in the middle of the afternoon;
- Snack smart. Try dried fruit or fortified cereal for a carbohydrate boost. Nuts and fresh fruit contain modest amounts of essential fats and carbohydrates that fuel the body;
- Avoid rich or fatty foods and stimulating drinks such as caffienated soft drinks. Instead, opt for water, fruit and vegetable juices or fruit smoothies to keep you hydrated and energised healthily.