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Troubleshooting sleep problems during pregnancy by trimester

Last Modified: May 01, 2024

Women & Children

pregnancy sleep

Sleep problems are common during pregnancy. Hormonal changes, combined with the discomforts women often experience during the later stages of the journey, usually around the third trimester, can break up the sleep cycle. Let’s take a closer look at the disruptions expecting mothers are navigating by trimester and some potential strategies that could help them get some rest.

First trimester

The first trimester can bring insomnia and night waking. Mothers may feel the need to take naps to fight daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Read more about getting through your first trimester.

Second trimester

The second trimester tends to feel more normal. This is often a period of improved daytime energy and less need for naps.

Read more about making the most of your second trimester.

Third trimester

The third trimester is a time to expect increasing insomnia and night waking. It's common to wake up a few times a night, usually because of such discomforts as back pain, needing to urinate, leg cramps, heartburn and fetal movement. Strange dreams are also common in the last few weeks of pregnancy. The need to take daily naps may return as the due date approaches.

Read more about caring for yourself during the third trimester.

Tips for improving sleep during pregnancy

For the best night of sleep possible, these strategies can help.

  • Get comfy – Use extra pillows to support the belly or put one between the knees.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule – Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time, too. (Yes, even on the weekends.)
  • Stop drinking fluids a few hours before bed – Pregnancy can make women have to urinate—a lot. Going to bed with an empty bladder can decrease the need to get up and use the restroom at night.
  • Nap, but not for too long – If an expecting mother needs a nap, that’s fine! Just keep it short so it doesn’t affect nightly rest.
  • Do something relaxing before bed – Try yoga, meditation or a bubble bath. Reading something light rather than doing something on a screen is best as the light from TV or devices can activate the brain in ways that make it hard to sleep. Get more tips on how to power down before bed here.
  • Cut back or cut out caffeineLimit caffeine to about 200 to 300 mg per day, and only have it in the morning. On average, a cup of brewed coffee has around 80 to 100 mg of caffeine. (This applies to all sources of caffeine, including tea, energy drinks and chocolate.)

Read more about women’s struggles with sleep here.

Learn more about Parkview’s obstetriciansFamily Birthing Centers and Certified Nurse Midwife Program or connect with our team of nurse navigators to get connected to the resources you need to support your pregnancy and postpartum journey.







Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

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