Sleep Guide for Pregnancy – How to Sleep When Pregnant?


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Manveen had an illustrious career in journalism and writing. She is the mother of a super active 7-year-old. While chasing her around the house, she also finds time to pursue her passion for writing on parenting, education, health, fitness, and entertainment.

How to sleep when pregnant? Most first time mothers think sound sleep will be an issue when their child comes into the world. So, when sleep disruption starts in the first trimester of their pregnancy, it comes usually a surprise to many women. While nausea and heartburn take a toll on you sleep during the first trimester, leg cramps and frequent trips to the bathroom can keep you up later in the pregnancy.

Here are some tip and tricks to help you sleep better during pregnancy.

First Trimester

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Overwhelming fatigue and drowsiness are common during the first trimester. The higher levels of progesterone in the body during this time cause tiredness and lethargy. At this stage, a lot of metabolic changes are going on in your body, and these can take a lot of calories and quite a bit of your energy.

Sleep challenges

Increased bathroom visits

High levels of progesterone in the body and a growing uterus that’s pushing against the bladder can cause a frequent urge to urinate. This can disturb your sleeping pattern as you will have to wake up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom.


It may be called morning sickness but can happen throughout the day and sometimes during the night as well.


Heartburn during pregnancy can cause a lot of distress. It usually worsens during the night when you lie down to sleep.

Body ache

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Swollen breasts and pelvic cramps make it difficult to sleep.


Plan your naps

Plan your naps. Try to take your naps between 2 pm to 4 pm. If you nap any later than that, you may find it difficult to sleep at night.

Cut down on caffeine

Cut down your caffeine intake, especially after 6 pm.


Exercise during the day to promote sound sleep. However, do not exercise in the evening as you may find it difficult to sleep if you overtire yourself.

Second Trimester

Sleeping will get a little easier during the second trimester. However, you will still face some issues.

Sleep challenges

Leg cramps

Sharp pain in your legs may wake you up from your sleep during this time. These cramps usually take few minutes to go away and can take a toll on your shut-eye.

Vivid dreams

Hormonal changes in the body along with stress and anxiety can take its toll. Don’t be surprised if you get some crazy, vivid dreams during this time. These dreams can make you restless during the night.


Women tend to snore more during this time. You may wake up in the middle of the night with a dry throat due to this.


Avoid carbonated drinks

Calcium imbalance can cause leg cramps. So, stay away from carbonated drinks that reduce calcium in the body.  Add calcium-rich food like dairy products and green leafy vegetables to your diet.

Relax your mind before sleep

Have a warm water bath or listen to some music before you go to sleep. If you sleep with a calm mind, you can avoid anxious dreams.

Third Trimester

Most women wake up more often in the night during this stage of pregnancy. At this stage, the size of your belly makes it impossible to lie down comfortably during the night.

Sleep challenges

Back pain

More than 60 percent of pregnant women suffer from back pain during the third trimester. This makes finding a suitable sleeping position difficult.

Restless leg syndrome

Some women feel an intense tingling in their legs during the third trimester. Lower levels of iron and folate can cause this.

Frequent trips to bathroom

At this stage, the uterus grows larger, and the baby drops lower in the pelvis. This increases the urge to visit the bathroom.


Sleep on your left

Sleep on your left side to take the stress off your back. Put a pillow between your knees and behind your back for extra support.

Leg massage

Have a warm water bath and massage your legs before you sleep. A short evening walk may also help overcome restless leg syndrome.

Cut back on liquids

Don’t drink for at least two hours before you sleep. Try and empty your bladder completely when you urinate.

Best sleeping positions for pregnancy

  • The best sleeping position during pregnancy is on your left side. This increases the blood and nutrients that reach your placenta and your baby.
  • If you are experiencing back pain, sleep on your side with pillows between your legs and under your belly.
  • Prop up the upper part of your body with pillows if you are experiencing heartburn.
  • If you experience shortness of breath, lie on your side, propped up with pillows.

Sleeping positions to avoid

  • Don’t sleep on your back as this can cause frequent backaches, affect your breathing and can cause low blood pressure. This can also decrease the circulation of blood to your heart and your baby.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy as it can be quite uncomfortable for you.

Types of pregnancy pillows

Pregnancy pillows can help a great deal in providing sound sleep. While most give excellent support to your belly, some are designed to target hip and back pain. Pregnancy pillows are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here’s a low down on the various types of pregnancy pillows in the markets.

Pregnancy body pillow

This pillow is the size of your body. It helps in a restful sleep as you can lie across it.

U-shaped pregnancy pillow

It’s shaped like the letter U and is designed to give support to both your back and your belly. You can start using it from the second trimester.

C-shaped pregnancy pillow

It is shaped like the letter C. This pillow is a great help as it gives support if you prefer sleeping on the side.

Wedge-shaped pillow

Wedge pillows are designed to support your belly or your back. You can slide it under your belly or your back for additional support.


Sleeping well is very important for the development of your baby. So, follow these tips to ensure that you get a good night’s rest.

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