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Sleepy but sleepless

The second trimester is considered the best time to catch some sleep.

I have always claimed that my demanding job gives me a lot of stress. Not that I mind a job that demands my best,but could definitely do with a little less stress that was affecting various aspects of my life. But no matter how much stressed out I was,there was one thing that remained unaffected: sleep. Be it the sound of a calling bell or phone,or that of the peak-hour office traffic in front of our apartment,nothing has been able to wake me up before 11.30 am,following at least seven and a half hours of sleep. I remember waking up on a 2005 morning to find my husband fanatically trying to get me out of the house that was shaking due to an earthquake. Measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale,the quake had ravished Kashmir,and though the tremors felt in Mohali,where we lived then,had brought the entire city out of their homes,I could barely feel anything out of place.

But things are not the same any more. I don’t remember when I last slept uninterrupted for even two hours at a stretch ever since the last week of December 2010. While it was initially the realisation of pregnancy that kept me from sleeping,I have several reasons now for staying up. If I am lying on my left,cramps waist down on the right force me to change side. But soon after I am on my right,the left begins to protest. Apologies for the cliché,but I am literally spending my nights tossing and turning,though even that is something not very easy. I have been told to ensure that I sit up first and then change sides. According to old timers,it is not good for the baby if the mother does not follow this rule. With increasing weight,it’s difficult otherwise also to shift around in bed.

Experts suggest sleeping on the left as the best position during pregnancy — with a pillow under the right leg — as it allows better blood circulation to the placenta. Though many women complain of acidity and other digestion issues if they sleep on their right,my doctor says either side is fine but I should avoid lying on my back for a long time. Most women suffer from backache during pregnancy and lying straight puts more pressure on the back. According to experts,the weight of the uterus lies on the spine,back muscles,intestines and major blood vessels if sleeping on the back. As a result,you can get muscle pains. Besides,it may hamper blood circulation,leading to pressure problems.

The second trimester is considered the best time to catch some sleep. If you are not as lazy as I am,and get some exercise every day,this is the time you can make up for the sleep already lost during the first trimester and will be lost in the third. The main problem during this time is leg cramps,which can be checked with regular workouts,says my doctor.

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As I proceed towards the third trimester,I am warned,things are going to be worse and I should rather get used to this sleeplessness. Even if the physical discomfort goes after the delivery,I am told,I should forget about a sound sleep once the baby arrives who will keep me busy all night for sure. For the time being,however,I am sleepy and dazed all the time,and spending my time waiting for the day I will be able to lie on my stomach again — my favourite sleeping position — if not anything else. 

First published on: 19-04-2011 at 11:28 IST
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