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Pregnant, Exhausted and Sleepless?

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There were times during the day that I could barely keep my eyes open and hardly keep from nodding off. Growing a baby truly sucks the energy out of you. I would find myself falling asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. or looking forward to my 2-year-old son’s daily nap so I could curl up with him and rest. As exhausted as I was, I could not figure out why I had such trouble sleeping at night.

I am a stomach sleeper. I love the feel of my soft, cool pillow on my cheek as I lay face-down with the cushion of my bed underneath me. But once I became pregnant, I had to find a new way to sleep comfortably. As my belly began to grow, I could not sleep on my stomach and was told by my doctor that I should not sleep on my back. So in my sleep, I was supposed to remember to sleep on one side of my body or the other.

My husband was a big help. Once I finally got comfortable enough to actually fall asleep, he would nudge me awake whispering in a sleepy voice, “Honey, you’re not supposed to be sleeping on your back.” I remember gritting my teeth and wanting to kick him back over to his side of the bed. It would sometimes be almost an hour later that I still lay awake (on my side) staring at the darkness of our bedroom, trying to count sheep over the sound of snoring coming from the other side of the bed.

Finally, peaceful slumber would find me and I would sleep. Quiet, restful, calm …WHEN SUDDENLY…CHARLIE HORSE! I would sit straight up in bed, crying out. Oh, the pain in my calf! My husband would also sit straight up in bed, awakened suddenly by my cries. He would grab my leg and massage the tight muscle until it relaxed and allowed me to breath normally again. It happened so frequently that it became habit for him to instantly sit up and begin to rub the leg that I was grabbing in pain without really waking at all.

Between all this comfortable sleeping, I knew I would be getting up several times a night to go to the bathroom. At times, I would be so exhausted that I would try to dream my way into the bathroom. I imagined getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom and sitting down to go.

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Susan-- You sure have a way of reminding me exactly what I went through during my pregnancy. I could've written this article myself. :-)

I had a great pregnancy [with the exception of third trimester heartburn]. But sleeping started off as something I could do anywhere and it didn't matter how I slept to something that became a struggle.

Since I am a side sleeper, sleeping on my back was never an issue. But during my third trimester EVERYTHING HURT. My legs hurt, my back hurt, I couldn't fall asleep without tossing and turning for hours- it was a real pain.
I bought a special pillow-- nothing. It's still sitting in my closet.

The sad thing is that even after delivery I can't say that I have had a full night's worth of sleep like the old days.

July 24, 2009 - 11:15am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.