I've always had a basic bedtime routine: brush my teeth, put on pajamas, moisturize, comb through the mountain of reading material stacked on my nightstand, fall asleep. Even after I got married the routine didn’t change much. But when it came to the things I did as a pregnant woman at night, well, that was an entirely different situation. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in hindsight, I see the nighttime rituals in the months right before my first child’s birth marking the last period of my kid-free adult life. I probably should have had more dance parties.
During the day, the fact that I was pregnant didn't change much of my routine. I still had to get up at the same time for work, and do the same kind of work, though I will admit my head and my heat were kind of distracted during meetings. It can be hard to focus when you’re looking a few months down the road, trying to picture life with a baby where there has been none.
At night, though, away from the demands of work and somewhat removed from my partner, in as much as he was engrossed in his own nighttime rituals (video games), is when I was really confronted by my pregnancy. Whether it was because I was staring in the mirror while brushing my teeth, or struggling to pull on pajama bottoms that I swore fit yesterday, I grappled with my pregnancy the most late in the day. That’s when my exhaustion peaked, too.
So if you’re wondering what things every basic pregnant woman does at night, here’s how it went for me:
Steal All The Pillows
In my third trimester, I could only sleep somewhat comfortably if I was propped up in a sitting position. This required all the pillows. My husband learned to roll up sweatshirts as makeshift supports for his own head. What a sport.
Turn On The Air Conditioner…
I was hot when I was pregnant, in the temperature sense. It couldn’t be cold enough, so that air conditioner was cranking well into October as I entered my ninth month.
… & The Fan
Just the air conditioner wasn’t enough, though. I had a huge window fan blowing right on us, in addition to the cold air. I’d be kicking blankets off while my husband went hunting for more layers to pile on top of his freezing body.
Complain That It’s Still Too Warm
I tried not to complain too much when all the discomforts of pregnancy were in full effect towards the end of my third trimester, but it was tough to pretend that I was feeling great when I wasn’t. So even though the air was practically Arctic in our bedroom at night, I always felt way too warm. My body never really cooled down. I’d look at my shivering husband, scrunched up in the tiny bit of real estate afforded to him — given my size and the room my body pillow was taking up — and be totally jealous that he felt cold when I considered to swelter with all this baby in me.
Strategically Position The Body Pillow
As previously mentioned, the body pillow was a significant part of my nighttime routine. It was my new favorite bedmate, more supportive than any thing, or person, especially as I moved through my third trimester. I had to fluff it up, place it in the middle of the bed, then position it perfectly so I could curl into it while on my left side (since I was sleeping on the right side of our bed). When I’d wake up throughout the night, I’d plump it up, turn it over to its cooler side, and reposition myself against it. Oh how I loved my body pillow.
Pee Right Before Bed
Even if I had just peed, I’d go again right before getting into bed. A pregnant woman’s bladder is on her own clock.
Try Not To Think About How Much More Comfortable She’d Be Lying On Her Stomach
While acclimating to my body’s metamorphosis during pregnancy, I don’t think I ever once thought: “Wow, this change is having a positive impact on my life!” I can see how some women may appreciate the growth in breast size, but I wasn’t having it. They just hurt, like most other parts of my body.
So it was difficult to think happy thoughts, especially when sleeping in a totally unnatural position to accommodate my swollen belly. I am a stomach sleeper and had to give up that comfort while I was gestating my two humans. This may seem like a minor complaint, but when you’re trying to get the last bit of sleep ever before becoming a parent, anything that gets in the way of drifting off is next-level annoying.
Pee Again Three Hours Later
Someone told me that getting up frequently in the middle of the night when pregnant was nature’s way of preparing you for getting up a lot with the baby when it arrived. I took comfort in this logic, because without it I would have lost my mind making trips to the bathroom almost every two hours throughout the night.
Fall Asleep With A Parenting Book On Her Chest
I kept What to Expect When You’re Expecting bedside, since I was not lugging that thing back and forth to work every day to read on my commute. The problem was, I was so exhausted at bedtime (from lugging my pregnant self to and from the office on the subway, where I was rarely offered a seat) that I would barely get through a paragraph before passing out. It literally took me the entire nine months of my pregnancy to get through that book, and reading it made me anxious. It felt like cramming for a test before bed every night.
My advice for moms-to-be is to read something completely escapist before bed. You’ll be up often to pee anyway, so don’t make yourself lose more sleep worrying about everything in the book. If you’re wondering what to get someone for a baby shower, get her a non-baby book. It might seem out of touch, but she’ll be so thankful.
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