Sleep Comfortably During Pregnancy

Edited by Vanessa Alexandra Avisado, Eng, Lynn, Maria Quinney

Expecting parents can't help but feel the excitement once they find out about the "pregnancy." For moms, the thrill of the experience usually does not wane despite many difficult changes in their bodies. Most, however, would prefer that pregnancy be easier, especially as their bumps get bigger through the months. As pregnancy advances to the third trimester, the physical pains and discomforts of a mom-to-be can be agonizing. To stay healthy, they need to get good rest and sleep, which are increasingly harder to do.


The first trimester is the period when you will experience an increase in the frequency of urination due to the compression on the bladder of the growing fetus. This will send you scurrying to the toilet every so often that it may keep you awake for the greater part of the night and day. The "morning sickness," or nausea and vomiting, can also add up to your discomfort in the mornings or even later during the day.

The second trimester ushers leg cramps and maybe heartburn and indigestion, aside from the frequent trips to the toilet and other discomforts with the growing fetus. In the third trimester, the extra weight can make you feel tired all the time. Around this stage, finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes a challenge and once you finally get settled, little kicks can jolt you from time to time awakening you at night.

Then, as you get closer to your due date, you may start feeling position pains. You may even suffer from insomnia and anxiety due to worrying about your baby. What can you do to sleep comfortably during pregnancy?

Other Reasons for Sleeping Difficulty

Sleeping during pregnancy is a challenge that gets worse as the bump gets bigger. There are many reasons why sleeplessness and discomfort happen, especially at bedtime.

  1. 1
    Frequent urination
    You can reduce the frequency of the night trips to the bathroom by limiting your fluid intake around bedtime. You must also avoid caffeinated beverages that can make you urinate more.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Increased hormones
    Estrogen and prolactin can cause histamines to increase in the blood of pregnant women. This may cause some itching at night that can cause sleep disturbance.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Heartburn or breathlessness
    This is pretty common among pregnant women as the stomach and the intestines are displaced with the engorgement of the uterus. You can try holding up your upper body using pillows. You must also avoid eating a big meal at supper.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    The itch caused by the stretching of the skin
    There are moms-to-be who complain of extreme itchiness around the growing bulge. Applying lotions, creams and cocoa butter enriched with vitamin E may help relieve the itch and partly help improve sleep.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  5. 5
    Weight gain ranging between 25-55 pounds
    The extra weight causes the increased pressure on the back, hence the moderate to severe back pain. Lying on your side can trigger much pain on the pelvis or hip bones. Support aids placed under the belly and the back can help alleviate the pressure, the weight and the pain. It also helps to get into some simple exercise routines like prenatal yoga that can relax you while strengthening your muscles and checking your weight.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Best Sleeping Position

Amazingly, certain sleep positions are better for pregnant moms and the babies in their wombs. Not only will these help you sleep better, but they also improve the blood flow to the baby.

  1. 1
    DO NOT:
    1. Sleep on your stomach: This will be an uncomfortable position when your breasts feel tender and later engorged with milk. The bulging tummy will also be an impediment when you lie on your stomach.
    2. Sleep on your back: This position puts all the weight of the heavy womb and baby on the back muscles, major blood veins (the vena cava that carries blood to the heart from the lower extremities) and intestines. These can trigger discomforts and medical conditions such as backache, poor blood circulation and blood pressure problems, indigestion and hemorrhoids.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    1. Lying on the left side. This is the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman, particularly in the second and third trimester, is to lie on the side. More specifically, it is better to lie on the left side as it takes off pressure on the vena cava and allows better blood flow to the legs.
    2. Better circulation. This position enhances the blood flow delivering nutrients and oxygen better to you and your baby while getting rid the body's wastes more efficiently. Consequently, you will experience less swelling in your hands, legs and feet.
    3. No need to worry. While you sleep, you'll soon discover that staying in this position all night long will be almost impossible. You will most likely change position from left to right side, or onto your stomach or back. You need not lose sleep when this happens because your baby is just floating inside your womb unharmed. Just try to go back to your left side.
    4. Use stoppers. To prevent shifting or changing your position, you may want to use stoppers, such as pillows. A pillow between your knees, under your bump, and behind you can prevent you from lying flat on your back or on your stomach. There are different kinds of pillows to help you stay in this position.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Shut-eye and Sleeping Aids: Maternity Pillows and Mattress

  1. 1
    Maternity Pillows.
    1. What makes them special? Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be facilitated by using pillows that are customized for pregnant women and their body shape. While regular pillows may work well too, you need to find how these can be used to support the growing belly and its weight.
    2. What are their features? Maternity pillows usually have adjustable straps so these can be used as the bump grows bigger. It has special features such as aromatic scents to make you relax, and various fabrics and colors.
    3. How are they designed? There are maternity pillows specifically that are You-shaped that are customized to support the belly and the back and knees as well. The alternative is to use several pieces, the C-shaped or I-shaped to mimic the kind of support that You-shaped pillows can provide if they find these too enormous. Some models have Velcro tabs to attach two pillows.
    4. The Pregnancy Wedges. These are designed to support your bulging belly when you try to lie on your side. These also aid to prop your body to a semi-reclining position. As a bonus, it is a handy mattress that you can use when nursing the baby after giving birth.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Maternity Mattress
    Egg-crate foam mattress pad. These aren't really designed for pregnant women, but it can amazingly relieve the pressure off you're his when lying on your side. This pad is placed on top of the mattress and under the bed sheet. An alternative is the so called air mattress that many pregnant moms find comfortable.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Maternity bras and belts
    These are good aids to keep you feeling better at night.  
    1. Maternity belts. If back pain bothers you too much, especially in your sleep, and deters you from getting a good rest, try using a maternity belt that lifts the bulge. This can ease the pressure on your bladder, relieve the pain in your back, improve blood flow and make you sleep better. There are designs that are made up of Lycra bodysuits that offer comfortable support. There are designs that is merely a simple pelvic wrap or a more elaborate over-the-shoulder design.
    2. Sleeping bra. This is made of soft, non-restrictive fabric such as cotton that provides nighttime support for a lighter feeling.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Try different sleeping surfaces. Experiment on various surfaces such as a reclining chair, the couch, or the bed in the next bedroom to find something that will suit your need.
  • Bed rest. If you are among those who need to deal with pregnancy complications - pre eclampsia, preterm labor, or placenta problems - you will be prescribed full or partial bed rest. With more hours required that you rest and sleep, finding the position and the sleep aid and remedies to help you is important.
  • Develop a relaxing routine. Having a soothing bedtime routine helps in making you relax before bedtime. Preparing to sleep consistently at the same time every night gets your body accustomed to the routine.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Vanessa Alexandra Avisado

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 5,195 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No