You may sleep well during the first trimester. You may also need more sleep than usual. Your body is working hard to make a baby. So you will tire easily. But later in your pregnancy, you may have a hard time sleeping well.
Your baby is growing bigger, which can make it hard to find a good sleeping position. If you've always been a back- or stomach-sleeper, you might have trouble getting used to sleeping on your side (as doctors recommend). Also, shifting around in bed becomes harder as you get bigger.
Other things that may keep you from sleeping include:
Try sleeping on your side. Lying on your side with your knees bent will likely be the most comfortable position. It makes it easier for your heart to pump because it keeps the baby from putting pressure on the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from your legs.
Many doctors tell pregnant women to sleep on the left side. Sleeping on the left side also improves blood flow among the heart, fetus, uterus, and kidneys. It also keeps pressure off your liver. If your left hip becomes too uncomfortable, it is OK to switch to your right side for a while. It is best not to sleep flat on your back.
Try using pillows under your belly or between your legs. Also, using a bunched-up pillow or rolled-up blanket at the small of your back may relieve some pressure. You can also try an egg crate type of mattress on your side of the bed to give some relief for sore hips.
These tips will safely improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.
If stress or anxiety about becoming a parent is keeping you from getting a good night's sleep, try:
Do not take any sleep aids. This includes over-the-counter medicines and herbal products. They are not recommended for pregnant women. Don't take any medicines for any reason without talking to your health care provider.
Ibrahim S, Foldvary-Shaefer N. Sleep disorders in pregnancy. Neurologic Clinics 2012;30:3.
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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