Sleep Problems During Pregnancy

Overview

Sleep problems are common during pregnancy. Hormonal changes plus the discomforts of later pregnancy can break up a pregnant woman's sleep cycle.

First trimester.
  • The first trimester can bring insomnia and night waking.
  • Most women feel the need to take naps to fight daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Second trimester.
  • The second trimester tends to feel more normal for many women. This is often a period of improved daytime energy and less need for naps.
Third trimester.
  • The third trimester is a time to expect increasing insomnia and night waking. Most women wake up 3 to 5 times a night, usually because of such discomforts as back pain, needing to urinate, leg cramps, heartburn, and fetal movement.
  • Strange dreams are also common in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
  • The need to take daily naps may return as your due date approaches.

Improving your sleep

Try to get the best sleep possible. These tips might help.

  • Get comfy.

    Use extra pillows to support your belly, or put one between your knees.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.

    Go to bed at the same time every night. And wake up at the same time too, even on weekends.

  • Stop drinking fluids a few hours before bed.

    Pregnancy can make you have to urinate—a lot. If you go to bed with an empty bladder, you're less likely to have to get up in the night to go to the bathroom.

  • Let yourself nap, but not for too long.

    If you keep naps short, they're less likely to affect how well you sleep at night.

  • Do something relaxing before bed.

    Try yoga, meditation, or a bubble bath. When you get in bed, read something light rather than do something on a screen. (The light from TV or devices can activate your brain in ways that make it hard to sleep.)

  • Cut back on caffeine, or don't drink it.

    Try to have just 1 cup of coffee a day or 2 cups of tea, and only in the morning. (And don't forget that energy drinks and chocolate also have caffeine.)

Credits

Current as of: February 23, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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