Trouble Sleeping During Pregnancy

What causes trouble sleeping during pregnancy?

Problems falling and staying asleep (insomnia) are very common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Trouble sleeping during pregnancy may be caused by:

  • Hormonal changes in your body
  • The need to go to the bathroom more often because your uterus is getting bigger and putting pressure on your bladder
  • Trouble finding a comfortable position in bed
  • An active baby (a small jabbing fist or foot can keep you awake)
  • Being so excited about the baby that it’s hard to relax your mind and body
  • Nightmares about labor and delivery or possible problems with the baby
  • Shortness of breath when you lie down on your back (if the baby is pressing on your lungs)

How can I help myself?

Here are some ideas that might help:

  • Drink a warm, noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic drink at bedtime, such as warm milk.
  • Use the muscle relaxation techniques taught in childbirth classes.
  • Lie on your left side with one pillow supporting your belly and another between your legs.
  • Lie with your head and chest higher than your belly.
  • Consider listening to white noise, such as a fan blowing. Soft music may help.
  • If you eat late at night, keep it light.
  • Keep active during the day. Get plenty of exercise, according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations, and get some fresh air.
  • Limit daytime naps to no more than 1 hour each day.
  • Massage or a warm bath before bed may relax you.
  • Read something light or entertaining just before you go to bed.
  • Stick to a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.

Avoid sleeping pills, unless directed by your healthcare provider.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-05-06
Last reviewed: 2014-09-21
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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