30th December 2011
We all know that new parents are often kept up all night, but expectant mothers can suffer from the perils of broken sleep patterns too.
Frequent trips to the toilet and physical discomfort leave some mums-to-be exhausted and stressed out even before their little one arrives.
While it may be impossible to completely alleviate the effects of lack of sleep, there are things that expectant mothers can do to relieve the impact of a broken night's rest.
Louise Whyte, a personal trainer specialising in pregnancy and post-natal exercise, emphasises the benefits of physical exercise.
"Exercise can actually help with sleep," the expert says. "Get lots of fresh air and make sure that even if you are not sleeping well you are getting plenty of 'feet up' rest."
Swimming is a great option for mum-to-be. It is low-impact but improves muscle tone and poses a low risk of injury for you and your baby. There is a wide range of maternity swimwear to choose from for trips to the pool both before and after the birth.
If you are not able to make it outside, yoga and stretching are good forms of gentle exercise that can help relax the body and mind.
It is also important to ensure that the sleep that you do get is of good quality.
Use pillows to give your body support and help you adopt a relaxing and secure sleep position.
"Investing in some specially-shaped cushions can help make sleeping more comfortable", Louise adds.
Some expectant mothers find that a quick snooze during the day can relieve the effects of tiredness. However, it is important to limit your naps to an hour and time them wisely to ensure that they don't interfere with night time sleep.
Pregnancy may be a tough time for your sleep patterns, but with a little thought and preparation you can be well on your way to sweet dreams.