I just can't stay asleep! What percent of women get insomnia during pregnancy: 78%.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 1998 Women and Sleep poll1, 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. Many women also report feeling extremely fatigued during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. Considering the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and the prevalence of sleep disorders among pregnant women, it’s no wonder that expectant mothers become so tired.

The hormonal free for all going on in your body is one of the reasons for fatigue and sleep problems during pregnancy. Rising progesterone levels may in part explain excessive daytime sleepiness, especially in the first trimester. Hormonal changes may also have an inhibitory effect on muscles, which may result in snoring and in heavier women increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. It also may be partly responsible for the frequent trips to the little girls room during the night (an all night potty party!). These interruptions as well as those caused by nausea and other pregnancy-related discomforts can result in significant loss of sleep. Emotions and anxiety about the delivery, motherhood and career also are to blame for insomnia.

Common sleep problems that occur or are made worse during pregnancy are:

  • Insomnia
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux (nighttime GERD)
  • Frequent nighttime urination

How Can You Avoid or Treat Insomnia during Pregnancy?

To get as much shut eye as possible during pregnancy:

  • Plan, schedule, and prioritize sleep.
  • Unless directed not to by your healthcare provider, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Sleep on your left side to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. Try to avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time.
  • Drink lots of fluids during the day, especially water, but cut down on the amount you drink in the hours before bedtime.
  • Cut out spicy, acidic, or fried foods. Also, eat frequent small meals throughout the day.
  • Snoring is very common during pregnancy, but if you have pauses in your breathing associated with your snoring, you should be screened for sleep apnea. Also, have your blood pressure and urine protein checked—especially if you have swollen ankles (a.k.a. cankles) or headaches.
  • If you develop Restless Leg Syndrome, it could be iron or folate deficiency and you should be evaluated
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t force yourself- try to read or meditate to relax
  • When sleeping, lie on your left side with your knees and hips bent. Place pillows between your knees, under your abdomen and behind your back. This may take pressure off your lower back.
  • Don’t turn on the light in the bathroom, use a nightlight instead. This will help you return to sleep more quickly.
  • Add daytime naps as necessary (or possible!), but reduce them or nap earlier in the day if you have difficulty falling asleep at night.
  • Try meditation to help subside the anxiety and settle your brain

What NOT to take while Pregnant and Nursing:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Melatonin
  • Naproxen sodium
  • Aspirin

Consult your healthcare provider prior to taking any medication while pregnant or nursing.
Always follow the directions on the package

*No medication is considered 100% safe during pregnancy and nursing