Sleeping Discomforts

It can be hard to get a good night's sleep during pregnancy. Your hormones are surging, and your body is changing. The most pressing issue -- literally -- is the growing size of your baby. By the third trimester, you may have trouble getting comfortable. Frequent nighttime urination, also common early in pregnancy, can return as your baby's position shifts, putting pressure on your bladder. Heartburn or leg cramps may also keep you up.

Call Doctor If:

  • You want to take an over-the-counter sleep aid, including herbal remedies. Most herbal remedies are not recommended for pregnant women.
  • Sleeplessness lasts a long time or gets worse.

Step-by-Step Care:

  • Sleep on your side with your legs bent. This eases discomfort, backaches, and heartburn. Sleep on your left side to improve circulation.
  • Experiment with pillows. Put one between your legs to support your lower back. Use one to prop you on your side, so you don't roll over on your back.
  • Avoid fluids two to three hours before bed if you get up to urinate often at night.
  • Relax your mind and muscles with stretching, yoga, deep breathing, or massage.
  • Have a glass of warm milk and crackers before bed. Milk contains tryptophan, a substance that helps bring on sleep.
  • Avoid late meals as well as spicy, greasy or acidic foods close to bedtime.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on January 20, 2019



March of Dimes: "Your Pregnant Body: Sleeping Problems."

National Sleep Foundation: "Pregnancy and Sleep."

Nemours Foundation: "Sleeping During Pregnancy."

Cleveland Clinic: "Sleep During Pregnancy."

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