Although pregnancy is a time when your body is working hard, it may be a time when you have difficulty sleeping well. Making sure you get enough rest can help you feel better throughout your pregnancy.
Sleeping difficulties are common throughout pregnancy for different reasons. In early pregnancy, nausea can make sleep difficult, but many women also find they are very fatigued even if they sleep a normal amount at night. Make time to rest when your body needs to. Insomnia is very common during pregnancy. It tends to be worse in the first and third trimesters. In the first trimester, pregnancy hormones such as progesterone cause sleepiness and fatigue. This often prompts the pregnant woman to take frequent naps during the day and makes it hard to fall asleep at night. The lesson to be learned here is to rest throughout the day without napping a lot.
Sleep gets increasingly uncomfortable as pregnancy progresses because of the size of your belly, but also because of the need to frequently urinate. In the third trimester, the baby and growing uterus are usually responsible for the discomfort that causes insomnia. Sleeping with a lot of pillows, such as body pillows, can make late pregnancy nights more restful.
Exercise and caffeine avoidance may also help insomnia. In most cases, pregnancy insomnia can be managed without medications. Occasionally medications such as Benadryl can be used, but it is probably best to try and do without sleep medications.
In women who are morbidly obese, insomnia or sleep disturbance may be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which the sleeper stops breathing for several seconds. Sleep apnea is harmful over time and actually may be detrimental to the baby during pregnancy. Sleep studies are generally required to diagnose the condition, and special oxygen treatment during sleep is required.
Your mind may also interfere with your sleep. You may be worrying about your job, how you will manage a baby and a career, as well having concerns about your baby's risk for problems. Try to look at your concerns rationally, and do everything you can to solve them during the day. Make nighttime a worry-free time. Do things that will relax you before bedtime, such as reading, taking a bath, or asking your partner for a massage.
Sleeping in whatever position you are comfortable in is fine until about twenty-four weeks. After this point, sleeping on your back is not recommended since the weight of your uterus can compress arteries and reduce blood flow to the baby.