Country singer Carrie Underwood has opened up about the gruelling pregnancy insomnia she experienced with her second baby, Jacob. But while it left her awake for hours at a time, Underwood, who has just launched her book Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong, said she was able to use her inability to sleep to her advantage.
During a Q&A at the Country Radio Seminar Event, the mum, who also shares four-year-old Isaiah with husband Mike Fisher explained: "At the time I was writing a lot of the book, I was pregnant, and I had the worst pregnancy insomnia, which actually ended up being a blessing because that's when I wrote the majority of the book - the window from, like, two am to five or six in the morning."
The 36-year-old also admitted feeling frustrated when her body didn't "bounce back" as quickly after she welcomed 13-month-old Jacob.
"After having my first kid [Isaiah, 4], I felt like I bounced back fast," she said. "And then with Jake, it was like my body took a minute to get back to me. It was frustrating, because I'm like, 'Why wasn't it like the first time?' But I'm four years older."
A large study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, found that Underwood's experience of not being able to sleep isn't alone - 64 per cent of women suffer from insomnia in late pregnancy. Previous research has found that poor sleep during pregnancy is associated with depression and pre-term birth. And one study found that poor-sleepers were 20 per cent more likely to undergo caesarean section and experience a longer labour.
"Although it is well known that pre-existing sleep problems worsen and new issues frequently arise during pregnancy, there is a tendency to assume that difficulties related to getting to sleep and maintaining restorative sleep are characteristic phenomena of pregnancy and that they must be endured," said co-author Dr Amezcua Prieto . "This probably occurs because the health system does not give importance to the issue during the monitoring of pregnancies, to the point where the World Health Organization (WHO) does not even address the issue of sleep in its guidelines on providing care to pregnant women."
So what's a tired mumma to do?
Along with getting some exercise, a 2016 review of the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy insomnia, published in Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences suggests women try the following:
- Use dim night lights in the bathroom as bright light can make it difficult to go back to sleep
- Drink plenty of fluids in daytime but limit their intake after 5pm to decrease frequent trips to the loo
- Avoid spicy, heavy and fried foods to decrease heart burn.
- Take daytime naps in the earlier part of the day, if needed.
- If unable to sleep don't force it. Instead get out of bed, take a warm bath and do something non-stimulating such as knitting, reading a book, etc.
- Avoid activities like eating, watching TV, playing video games or other electronics or lengthy phone calls while in bed.