As we all know newborns have reputation for keeping people up at odd hours with late night feedings, however those sleepless nights can begin way before your baby is even born. Pregnant women who lack sleep are more likely to develop complications. It is very important to keep your energy and mood up to help you get better sleep during pregnancy. We will go through what the common sleep disrupters are throughout your pregnancy, and ways to improve your rest.

Pregnant young woman sleeping peacefully in bed

How stage of pregnancy affects the sleep needs

There are different sleep challenges that need to be passed which depending on the stage of your pregnancy. Women tend to crave greater amounts of sleep during the first trimester, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you need to go to bed earlier, feel sleepier or even take more naps throughout the day. At this stage it is best if you get sleep and rest your body when it needs it. However your sleep pattern will return to how it was before pregnancy in the second trimester. In your trimester the pattern returns back to that of the first trimester and you will tend to lose more sleep. Discomfort may arrive from any of the following; back pain, leg cramps, baby kicks, substantial weight gain, frequent urination urges and congestion associated with late term pregnancy.


8 tips to help you get better sleep

There are ways to get more and even better rest, even though it is usually impossible for women to avoid many of the things that limit sleep during pregnancy. Here are 8 tips to help improve your sleep;

  • Develop a bedtime routine. It contributes to relaxation.
  • Limit caffeine in your diet.
  • Don’t sleep on your back. It decreases the baby’s oxygen supply and puts pressure on your back.
  • Limit breathing problems by elevating your head when you sleep.
  • Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. If that’s not possible, turn down the screen’s brightness.
  • Relieve stress with yoga, mindfulness meditation or massage therapy.
  • Sleep on your side. Use pillows to support your abdomen and hips.
  • Stay well hydrated to help reduce leg cramping.

Poor sleep opens the door to ill health

Sleep problems during pregnancy are not inevitable. They can, and should be addressed. Pregnant women who don’t sleep well are more likely to have:

  • Poor sugar control (gestational diabetes)
  • Postpartum depression (some research shows a link to this condition)
  • High blood pressure (and related cardiac problems)
  • Anxiety and depression

There are also some conditions that appear for the first time or worsen when you’re pregnant. These conditions can certainly rear their ugly heads in pregnancy and progress at a faster rate. Someone might not have these conditions before pregnancy, and they might develop during any trimester.

Restless leg syndrome: If a woman has restless leg syndrome (RLS), it may get worse during pregnancy. The condition also may appear for the first time. Once RLS shows up, it is more likely to recur in later pregnancies. However, symptoms return to normal (for pre-existing cases) or disappear (for new cases) moments after the baby is born.

Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Research shows negative effects for both mother and unborn baby. The effect isn’t major but the full extent of the problem isn’t yet known. Women with pregnancy-related sleep apnea also tend to have:

  • Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Smaller babies

Talk to your doctor if you continue to struggle to get enough sleep. He or she can help pinpoint the cause and offer more tips to overcome it.