labor and lack of sleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Is anyone else worried about this? I haven't been sleeping very much lately even though I'm incredibly tired. Even when I lay down I just can't sleep. I'm starting to worry that I'll be so tired once labor start that I'll end up transferring (we're planning a home birth) for exhaustion. I plan to bring thsi up at my midwife appointment tomorrow, but I was wondering if anyone else had btdt or had any thoughts.

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#2 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 12:56 PM
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Yes, it does worry me, because last time I was so exhausted that I got an epi just so I could sleep for a couple of hours. I'd been sleeping really badly the previous few nights and then I went into labor right when I was going to bed at midnight, and labored till the sun came up. I was scared I'd be too tired to push. And I may well have been, actually. I'm worried I'll fall into that same trap again if I don't start sleeping well.

Are you not sleeping because you're stressed out, or is it the usual third trimester aches and pains? Maye if you got a family member or a close friend to come and help you around the house a few times a week, that would take some of the pressure off. Or a nice warm bath before bed.

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#3 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 01:47 PM
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When I was pregnant with DS I felt the same issues. I could not sleep and dragged myself through the day. I remember being exausted and crying at night saying "I just want to sleep! Please I just want to sleep!"
I discovered (in retrospect) that my body knew what to do to prepare itself for labor. The day before my labor started I called out sick from work because I had slept so soundly the night before and I didn't want to get out of bed! When I woke up I had so much energy and ended up walking on the treadmill for over an hour (trust me - this was not normal activity!). My labor started that evening, I was 38w6d.

It is best to try to rest as much as you can. Even if you are not sleeping be sure to put your feet up and relax as much as you can. If you really listen to your body, you can trust that it knows what it needs to do.
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#4 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 02:39 PM
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I agree rest as much as possible. Get other people to do the cooking and cleaning when possible and make your favorite couch or chair your spot.

Also work on getting really comfortable in bed and if you are still having trouble try taking 2 or 3 mg of melatonin before bed. Write a journal to get all your thoughts or worries out before bed or just make a list for the next day so you don't have to "think" about it or remember things for the next day.

Also try getting a massage or pedicure or anything you find relaxing.

When you are in labor if your feeling tired fine the most comfortable possition and don't use any energy between contractions just relax. that way you conserve energy.

Harmony; fly-by-nursing2.gifslingtwin.giffamilybed2.gifcd.giftreehugger.gifblogging.jpg to DH and first time Mom to Xander! 12/24/2008babyf.gif and Oliver 11/3/10 babyf.gif
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#5 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 03:32 PM
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ugh it's such a trap isn't it. Body won't let you sleep but all you want is sleep. I'm joining you with that right now. I'm trying to do my best but I am a grumpy mommy right now and we've had two tiring days together. Worrying of course prevents more sleep. I try to focus on my relaxation exercises when I can't sleep, just trying to give my body a rest and that will often put me off to sleep. DH giving a massage is great too!

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#6 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 03:54 PM
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I was so tired when I went into labor with DS (around 4 am) that I had a HUGE glass of wine at 6 am! Slept until about 9:30 and went on from there

You'll make it through.....I believe in you!

WOH Mom (for now)to DS (aka:Kiddo) and Little Bean (10/12/2010), Married to DH for ~7 years,
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#7 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 03:56 PM
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I guess I don't worry about it so much for labor as for everyday life and snapping at DS and stuff.

I hardly slept at the end when pregnant with DS. I actually seem to need less actual sleep, but more rest when I'm this far along.

With DS, I went into labor on just a couple hours' sleep (woke up, water had broken and contractions had commenced). I had magnesium and pitocin which equaled a 20 hour labor with 3 hours of pushing. I guess this time around I figure I can do just about anything on no sleep :-)

B, happily married to M. Mother to two boys: B (3/08) and A (9/10)
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#8 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 06:17 PM
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For me, the adrenaline or whatever took over, and sleep was the furthest thing from my mind during labor. I hadn't been sleeping much in the last trimester (mostly working long hours, then normal 3rd tri sleep disturbances like pee breaks and muscle cramps). On the day labor started (a Monday), I woke up at about 8:00 am, and DD was born at 6:45pm on Tuesday, and I didn't sleep at all during that time.

I was getting ready for work on Monday when light contractions started, so I stayed home and was too excited/nervous to sleep. Contractions got a bit more serious by about 10pm Monday night, and my doula told me to try to get some sleep then, but the contractions were too sharp so I couldn't sleep. I labored at home until 3am Tuesday morning, then went into the hospital when the contractions felt super intense and serious--but I was only about 3cm dilated then. Contractions got more and more intense until transition ended at about 3 pm--no way I was sleeping through any of that, although I did go into kind of a transe-like state in between contractions that I think helped me recharge a bit. And from about 3-6:45pm Tuesday, I was pushing. I never had an epidural or any such medication.

So I went almost 35 hours without sleep up to that point, then stayed up that evening until at LEAST 10pm or midnight, so more like 38-40 hours without sleep. I was fairly delirious and wrecked by the time DD was born, but at no point did I feel sleepy. It certainly would've been more pleasant and maybe faster/easier with more rest, but I wouldn't stress too much about it. Just try to rest as much as you can, and I'm sure you'll be fine in any event.

Mom to sweet DD 8/08, and adorable DS 10/20/10
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#9 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 09:09 PM
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It's a valid concern but your body is capable of a lot more sometimes than you might think. With DS I was overweight and out of shape. I had contractions 8-10 min apart all night (like 10pm-7am) Sunday night, Monday night, and Tuesday night then all day Wednesday and DS was born just before midnight on Wednesday. I slept between contractions most of the night on Sun, Mon, and Tues until 1am. Then contractions spaced out to 1/2 hr apart for a couple of hours, letting me sleep, before I went into active labor Tues afternoon. I was exhausted but it was still doable.

And then I had a horrid time getting any sleep for four days after DS was born because I had such a hormone high.

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#10 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 09:18 PM
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I think it's really *un*common for women to go into labor well-rested Most aren't sleeping particularly well at the end of pregnancy, and labor doesn't usually start off first thing in the morning after a night of good rest. And most of the time, things work out ok.

I agree with everyone else - get rest when you can and make the best of it. There tends to be this big push to get women up and walking around and "get things moving", and then we spend hours walking around exhausting ourselves when just resting (or less active gravity-assisted positioning) would be more helpful.

With my first, I think I got maybe two hours of sleep the night before my water broke - my husband was snoring, and I didn't have a good alternative place to sleep. It all ended up working out ok.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#11 of 13 Old 08-20-2010, 02:07 AM
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I had a similar experience to momasana. I had terrible insomnia in the last weeks with DD. I often couldn't fall asleep until 3am. The night before labour started I had a major meltdown about something (hormonal?) and slept soundly. I'm hoping this happens again because the insomnia is starting again

Mama to DD Feb '08 (9lbs), DS Oct '10 (10lbs) hbac.gif, DD Jan '13 hbac.gif

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#12 of 13 Old 08-20-2010, 10:21 AM
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Remember that even if you're not sleeping, just laying still in a dark room with your eyes closed is extremely beneficial. Resist the urge to get up and watch tv/whatever when you can't sleep.

As far as labor goes, though, the hormones will get you through even if you haven't slept well (in most cases).

Nik! Mama to Evelynn Rose 08/19/08 and Autumn Lily 11/02/10
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#13 of 13 Old 08-20-2010, 11:44 PM
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I've had 1st and 3rd trimester pregnancy insomnia. Usually for 3 nights in a row, I only get about 4 hours of sleep and then the next 2 nights, I sleep soundly. Am worried about labor at this level of sleep deprivation and so is the MW. Our plan is for my work schedule to decrease in the next couple weeks and end a couple weeks before EDD. MW was very happy with this plan and encouraged lots of napping or days off to rest even if my sleep isn't great.
I definitely got exhausted after 2 days of labor with DS, hoping it will be quicker with this little one!

Married 16 yrs to DH, DS (3/06) x4 (11/04) (3/08) (3/09) (8/09)
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