Pregnancy Sleep Tips By Trimester

First Trimester Insomnia and Beyond

Pregnant woman unable to sleep.
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During my first pregnancy, as morning sickness and the reality of the exhaustion set in, I couldn't stay awake. I would literally get up at 9 a.m., work for 2 hours, and come home and go back to sleep until early evening. Eat dinner and hit the hay for the night.

The second trimester brought some relief to both the exhaustion and the morning sickness, but presented new problems, namely aches and pains.

However, at this stage, it wasn't anything that a few pillows couldn't cure.

At the end of my pregnancy, our bed looked like a pillow factory; my husband could barely fit in our bed with me and the pillows, and I would lie awake at night for long periods of time.

These scenarios aren't very different for pregnant women anywhere, though there are different types of problems with sleep in pregnancy.

First Trimester Insomnia

At this point, your mind and your body can play a tug of war with your sleep. Your body may be forcing you into naps that you aren't used to or don't want. On the other hand, your mind may be whirring at top speed and keeping you awake, or even more likely refusing to let you fall asleep after one of your nightly trips to the bathroom.

Second Trimester Insomnia

This trimester might be your best chance for sleep! Your body isn't aching too badly yet and your mind has settled down as the pregnancy is accepted.

This means that you should not neglect your sleep this trimester. The biggest concern here is women becoming worried about sleeping on their backs.

Three Trimester Insomnia

Many people will tell you that the lack of sleep in the third trimester is merely a way to prepare for some of the endless nights that lie ahead.

Dealing with the aches and pains, your bladder constantly calling and the thoughts that begin to invade your mind about parenting and labor and birth can wreck your sleeping pattern. Sometimes women will also begin snoring during the last trimester. This is normal and will usually go away after the birth.

Finding a comfortable position is probably a big challenge right now. Back and belly sleepers are having a particularly hard time dealing with life at night. While there are commercial products available to aid you in sleeping on your belly, I've not talked to anyone who has used one. There are wedges that are sold as special pillows. Although the best thing I bought was a body length pillow, which you can find at nearly any department or discount department store.

Tips for Coping with Insomnia:

  • Regular exercise, but not close to bedtime, will help you sleep and help with energy levels.
  • Avoid meals close to bed, particularly if heartburn is a problem for you.
  • Pillows! Use them wherever you need them: between your knees for aching hips, under your belly for support, behind your back, and under your head.
  • Nap when you can, though this can be difficult with other children around. I learned to nap on the couch while my daughter played with her blocks quietly. Enlist the help of family if needed.
  • Sleep in or head to bed early.
  • Try relaxation before bed. A warm bath or a warm glass of milk.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night or have trouble falling asleep don't just lie there. Get up for a bit and read or do something not too stimulating.
  • If leg cramps wake you up at night try stretching prior to going to bed to avoid them.
  • Doing pelvic tilts before laying down will allow you a few extra minutes between bathroom breaks at night.

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