Sleep during pregnancy seems to come either super easily, or hard — depending on what trimester you are in. We’re going to talk sleep aids if you’re having trouble getting pregnancy sleep and even if naps are OK.
Sleep in Pregnancy
Importance of sleep during pregnancy
You are growing a HUMAN inside of you. You likely feel tired and ornery and a little frustrated that you can’t do more — but in reality, you are creating life, within your body — and when you look at that placenta, you’ll realize HOW MUCH work and iron it took to build that thing, not to MENTION the new baby!
Sleep is SUPER important during pregnancy.
Lack of sleep can mimic signs of other problems (like headaches), so it’s important to get enough sleep.
Sleeping a lot during pregnancy
Totally normal. I recommend being as productive as you can when you’re awake, but don’t be frustrated that you need a nap or you’re craving your sleeping in time.
Did I mention you’re growing a human inside of you?
How many hours should a pregnant woman sleep
A lot. I’d try to hit the recommended eight. If you have previously been a night owl, you likely will find that’s not as effective now that you’re growing a human inside of you. Whatever your sleep requirement was before, you might need a bit more now.
How to sleep comfortably while pregnant
Trouble sleeping during pregnancy
If you find yourself not able to sleep in pregnancy — first off, know you’re not alone. An inability to sleep during pregnancy happens for a lot of reasons.
- Worries seem to consume people during pregnancy — hormones just seem to take over.
- Aching hips and other body aches make it hard to lay on your side for a long period of time
- You can’t sleep on your back or your stomach — so sleeping positions are limited
- Your nose is plugged up, so sometimes it can be hard to breathe
- Who knows — I just have to say that sometimes, sleeping during pregnancy sucks.
Sleep aids during pregnancy
Mostly, they don’t seem to recommend sleeping pills when you’re pregnant (as I said in my post on marijuana during pregnancy — you want to give the baby a benign place to grow in).
A few things I recommend….
A body pillow — Often I bought one that I threw away after I was over being postpartum. BUT, there is an awesome one here (I’d buy it in Minky) and be sure to use code CURLS333 to get $50 off (that one comes from my big ol’ list of freebies for new moms).
A weighted blanket may help some people sleep better — I have a whole post on if a weighted blanket is safe during pregnancy.
The reason a body or pregnancy pillow helps is that it lets your his stay open
instead of flexing inward when you’re on your side for a more comfortable sleeping position.
Also, since you’re not supposed to sleep flat on your back after about 12 weeks, you can use it as a wedge for that as well.
I also have a post on my sister site that talks about pillows for pregnant stomach sleepers to help you find a comfortable position to get a good night’s sleep.
A Fan — a fan can help cool you. Pregnant women tend to sleep hotter since they have a baby inside them — a fan will help. We love this kind.
Sleep Eye Mask — it sounds dumb. BUT it’s a good idea! I just got one, and it really does help. Especially when all the little distractions are keeping you from sleeping (or light is keeping you from sleeping in). Get one that’s comfy, for sure — like this one.
Yoga — While yoga doesn’t DIRECTLY help you sleep better, it does do it in-directly. By stretching those hips and doing some movement it often helps you to sleep more soundly, and have a less-aching body when you wake up. HUGE fan of prenatal yoga — I did this one.
Preparation — Sometimes worries are keeping you up, and getting prepared and feeling more confident about birth can help you feel SO much better!
I recommend this class.
Sleeping in the daytime during pregnancy — is it good or bad?
You have to be careful about over-napping — especially if you’re having a hard time getting/staying asleep at night.
I love using my Amazon Echo as an alarm because I can just say “Alexa, set an alarm for 30 minutes” — so I don’t end up sleeping 12 years — because that can happen with excessive daytime sleepiness during pregnancy. 🙂
How to sleep during pregnancy in the first trimester
Most pregnant people don’t have sleep problems during early pregnancy. Unless it’s due to morning sickness — that’s a whole other problem.
If you are having an issue sleeping, I’d talk to your health care provider about it. Often anxiety can be consuming depending on the nature of your pregnancy. Make sure you’re taking care of your mental health too.
When should I stop sleeping on my stomach during pregnancy
In the first trimester, in general — if you’re comfortable, you should be OK. Your uterus and baby isn’t large enough to cause problems. If it’s a comfortable sleep position to be on your stomach, you can sleep that way. You can always use this time to practice your side sleeping. Because with a growing uterus, at some point it won’t be comfortable though — at that point — stop. 🙂
How to sleep during pregnancy in the second trimester
Can I sleep on my back during pregnancy
After you hit about 20 weeks of pregnancy, you should stop sleeping flat on your back. It can cut-off one of your major blood vessels that takes blood to all of your body. Sleeping with a bit of a tilt can help blood flow to baby.
My doctor had never explained any of that, so when I learned that as an L&D nurse — I was freaking out that I’d kill my baby if I laid on my back but…..
Numb hands during pregnancy while sleeping
If you were to sleep on your back and it’s problematic, you’d have numb hands/feet, ringing in the ears — since it does cut off blood flow to your body. You might also get number faster/easier when you lay funny on your arms/legs and they fall asleep faster. Probably due to increased fluid in your extremities.
Anyway, try as much as you can to not lay directly on your back when you’re past 20 weeks. If you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself flat on your back, just turn to your left side or right side when you wake up. 🙂 A body pillow can be helpful as a wedge behind your lower back to help get the best position.
How to sleep while pregnant in the third trimester
In the third trimester is when you will REALLY want to use those sleep aids. All of those things combine against you getting a goo night’s sleep. Along with having frequent urination(staying hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids is still REALLY important too — but try to drink the bulk of your water in the mornings).
The third trimester is a GREAT time to use the body pillow, for sure.
If you’re not sure you want to use that one — there are a few other full-length body pillow options on Amazon as well:
Anyway — that’s my best advice for better sleep during pregnancy, my friend Katie also has a good post about common pregnancy sleep issues. I also have a post on if you can go into labor while sleeping.
Either way, you won’t get much sleep in later stages of pregnancy, so just do what you can.
I think you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll sleep with confidence about the hospital in your pick. Grab this class to sleep better! It is…
- Quick — just a few hours
- Taught by an experienced RN
- Available 24/7 so you can both do it when it fist your schedule!
Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full class, check out my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss.