Welcoming parenthood, also welcomes a world of sleeplessness,  but did anyone tell you that the sleep would start to be sapped well before bub arrives?
With a boulder for a stomach, continual pummels from the inside and an eternal need to pee… it’s a miracle that a pregnant woman catches any shut-eye at all.
So, if you’re currently slogging your tired, pregnant self through the day, take a look at some of the sleep-busters below and some top tips to (hopefully) overcome them.
1. Indigestion
Regurgitating the last meal at bedtime really isn’t a treat. Sorry to be the party police, but before you reach for that late-night chocky bar or bottle of fizz, think again.
Tip: You can thank your pregnancy hormones for this one – bubbly drinks and caffeinated products consumed near bedtime, will not be kind.  Eat all food 2-3 hours before bed or it will plot to re-visit you

​2. Leg cramps
These delightful spasms are most common in the second half of pregnancy.  There’s little theory why these occur but it’s believed low calcium and magnesium levels are at play.
Tip: Dig into that yogurt and pile on those beans.  If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

3. What’s with all this mucous?
With higher estrogen and progesterone levels there’s an increase in blood volume everywhere.  Your nasal passages will not be exempt from this.  Your snout my feel engorged (because it is) and you may feel like you have a perpetual cold.
Tip: Saline nasal sprays are good for the nose, are safe and ease congestion through the night.

4. Frequent need to pee
With an increase in hCG (pregnancy hormone) and those kidneys working over time to filter a whopping 50% more blood than usual, your pee-ing will be at an all-time high.  Wait for the third trimester and your ‘need to pee’ will be at its peak.  You’ll be just like the Trevi Fountain.
Tip: Drink plenty of fluids through the day but less in the late afternoon, and remember to take a pee before you jump into bed.

5. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
An estimated 15% of pregnant woman endure this odd one.  It’s described as a tingling in your legs which urges you to move them (instead of sleep)!
Tip: Talk to your doctor about getting some blood tests done.  Often the results show low iron, magnesium or vitamin D levels, which can be treated with vitamin supplements. Hot/cold packs applied to your legs may help.

6. Can’t get comfy
Finding a comfy sleep position after 20-30 years of being a tummy/back sleeper can be felt as the ultimate curse against pregnancy.
Doctor’s recommend lying on your left-hand side during pregnancy.  Believe it or not, it’s not a punishment directed at you because you’re pregnant, but in fact helps with blood flow and nutrient delivery to your baby.  It also helps your own body eliminate waste and fluid – delicious.
Tip: Instead of a multitude of cushions, one firm pillow for your head and a tri-pillow for your body, will do the lot.  Grab one that’s not going to make you sweat into oblivion and that you can use for breastfeeding once bub arrives.

7. Can’t switch-off / over-tired
Pregnancy can really get your mind racing, and if this is your first pregnancy, there will be many un-knowns to add to this.
Tip: Keep to a regular sleep pattern which incorporates a peaceful, dark, room and use your bed for sleep and lovin’ only!

You might like to start taking rest in the day time – but keep those naps to 30 mins tops. This will relieve day-time fatigue without sacrificing night sleep.
Regular physical activity during the day promotes sleep at night, although vigorous activity right before bedtime can work against it.  Do 3-4 hours prior to sleep time.  If you’re an evening couch potato – enjoy the excuse.

8. Too worried to sleep
Tip: Try to resolve any worries before bedtime if possible.  Sometimes keeping a notepad and pen beside your bed to jot down concerns, can be helpful.
You might be worried about pregnancy or labour – if you are, enrol in some pre-natal classes to help find your birthing mojo (Don’t hesitate to seek professional help, if needed.)

9. Too hot
Your core body temperature increases once you’re pregnant, and you’re probably left feeling like a grease trap.
Tip: A fan for your bedroom or changing to lighter bedding might be helpful.

Pregnancy can be an incredible time, if you’re not too exhausted to miss it.  I know it can be difficult when that bulge gets large and sleep is at a premium.
Making the best choices you can at sleep time and grabbing the top resources around, will help.


Mum of six fabulous kids and foster-mum to numerous others in Australia. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counselor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate in Australia and an encourager of all mums out there giving it their best crack!

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