How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? (part 2 of 4)

How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? (part 2 of 4)


Part 2 – Sleep like a goddess

I don’t have time to sleep there’s something else MORE IMPORTANT to be done” or “you cannot make money while sleeping” were the stories I kept telling myself in order to be able to run on automatic pilot. They made me gradually reduce my sleeping time until I reached 4-5h per night during college .

Even though these principles were not mine – they came from my childhood role models, it took some effort to rewire my brain to adopt the new story: good quality sleep (not quantity as we are constantly advertised) is something really “necessary” for my life and activity on this planet.

They say you might hear the same thing from 100 people but only one master will truly speak to you. What does that mean? 

You might read the plethora of studies showing objectively how important sleep is, you might hear the repetitive message on the radio telling you about the importance of drinking water, you might go to the doctor who tells you to eat healthy yet his body betrays him tremendously but if you don’t resonate with them, you will remain uninspired and  unmotivated to change.

 1. Sleep impacts your weight, labour duration and delivery type.

The increased levels of progesterone in early pregnancy bring on a sudden need for sleep. It tends to go away during the second trimester, but will usually return in the third. It’s natural.

During my first pregnancy I was totally surprised by how fatigued I felt during the first trimester and I tried to “fight” the need in every way possible. As a first time mom I knew about one specific symptom for pregnancy: nausea (with or without vomiting). After all, this is what all movies and old wives’ tales advertise right? Well, new moms should get informed about how much energy is needed to create a new, healthy body from 0 to 6,5 pounds.

I was wondering if any of my bosses (all being men) are conscious of how productive a woman can be at this stage of her pregnancy…

Sleep to loose weight

Sleep to loose weight

2. Sleep and extra pounds  – Where does the bike fit in?

Did you know that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are 30% more likely to become obese compared to those who are sleeping a minimum of 9h? [2]

Why? Because the lack of sleep affects your normal manifestation of hunger and satiety hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin signals the brain that it is the meal time while leptin is the one that tells us to put the fork down. When we are tired our body produces more ghrelin and less leptin meaning that our hunger level will be higher and even if we eat the brain will get the signal of fullness later than usual. [3]

When I first read this piece of information if felt like heavens above split in half and a ray of wisdom was shining down on me. I had the supreme revelation: all my efforts of eating a small salad and a piece of fruit and reading about “healthy diets” are in vain unless I retrain myself to sleep more and moreover sleep during the appropriate times for hormonal and liver restoration.

What does quality mean in terms of sleep?  Between 1o:00 pm – 02:00 am. 

What I’ve also noticed was that during the day after a bad night’s sleep I was craving “heavy” foods. I simply could not make “clean” choices. No matter how well mannered and well trained my brain is it would give in to sweets, cheese, dishes with sauce or fried foods.

P.S. The bike? Oh, I sold it because it could not do the sleeping activity for me so I was not losing weight. 

3. Stressed mom =  stressed baby

To be more precise, during my first pregnancy I was struggling to balance the job, school and home life. I used to study at night for my Master’s degree. With this type of background the baby is born with already weakened adrenals because during the pregnancy the mom herself is in this very state. I was literally passing my problems on to my own baby!

“Currently an increasing number of babies are born with adrenal fatigue syndrome. These children are prone to more ear infections, appetite disorders, sugar cravings, physical and mental development problems, hyperactivity disorders.” ( Sorina Soescu M.D.)

4. “I am at the office”/”The house is not clean”/”I have to cook” so I CANNOT go to SLEEP

Is that really true? (as Katie Byron would put it) We all get the same 24h per day so, infact, we are not doing time management but priorities management. Top 3 priorities for me right now?


2.Food (as simple as it can get – a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts or almonds, avocado )

3.Cleanness (not tidiness …  a huge difference)

happy mom + happy baby = not so happy kitchen

happy mom + happy baby = not so happy kitchen

During my first pregnancy I asked my employer to change my schedule: reduce the working hours from 8 to 6, work from home when possible, come earlier go home earlier.  This way I was able to get some more sleep. Yes we can!

With this 2nd pregnancy, at around 28 weeks, I started “craving” mid-afternoon naps. How should I put it so that you can understand my urge to sleep?

On average it took me about 10 seconds to fall asleep. Anywhere. So I made it my goal to be at home, in bed, everyday around 2pm and go to sleep next to my 4 y.o. daughter… Ignoring details like the house is a total mess. Just like a goddess :). 

I became aware of my body’s need to rest and regenerate in order to be able to create a baby and on those days when I really cannot afford to take a nap I choose to go to bed earlier. As early as 8pm if needed (but I wake up at 6am). 

5. Sleeping and labour

study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1) showed that first-time pregnant women, who had less than 6 h of sleep per night were 4.5 times more likely to have a Caesarean section and the average duration of labor Their were 10 hours or more compared with women who had a long nap for 7 per night. OB-GYNs should prescribe sleep to mothers during late pregnancy.

6. I go to sleep with a smile and a “thank you”

I do not wake up with others’ job. Nor do I go to sleep. What does this mean? I’ve explained in part 1 point 1.


Are you familiar with the waiting place/state? (dr. Seuss talks about it in the poem “The places you go“)

“AFTER I lose the weight I will …” – go to dance classes, buy myself the tight dress, that pair of jeans, go out more often, …, …, …, etc. And in the mean time our life keeps happening. And we are still in that waiting state while it flows by.

Let’s switch the perception in order to get to the result. Assuming you already look the way you picture yourself, you already have that body you want what would you do differently in your life? Who would you be? What new/different activities would you engage in so that you look the way you do? Obviously the ones you engage in today did not yield the results you desire.

How did I put an end to this waiting phase? Start with what you already have. With a thank you. Before going to bed at night  I think about 3 things in my life/that happened that day for which I am deeply thankful. You will start seeing miracles happening. Pounds dropping. Mood lifting. New attitude. Love around.

Dr.  Wayne Dyer explains here why – 9 mins.

What about the smile? “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.” Maya Angelou. So at the end of the day, when I go to bed I make sure I gave at least one smile. Good night. 

Principle: The things you DO for your health are as important as the ones you DON’T.


Articles in this series:  

How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? – Part 1 – food

How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? – Part 2 – sleep

How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? – Part 3 – coming soon

How to avoid gaining pregnancy weight? – Part 4 – coming soon




2. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004; 1:e62.

3. Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, Van Cauter E. Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004; 141:846-50.