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Pregnancy can affect sleep because of the physiological, physical and psychological changes. The physiologic changes, including changing levels of hormone secretion increase the basal metabolic rate. The physical changes associated with the growing uterus can make finding a comfortable sleeping position difficulty. The psychological changes including the excitement, anxieties and potential stressors, can cause the mind to race and to interrupt sleep patterns.
In the early months of your pregnancy, you may find you're more tired than normal, taking naps and sleeping longer. In later months, you may begin to experience some sleep problems, including problems falling and staying asleep as the growing baby makes lying down uncomfortable.
Some of these problems may get worse as you get closer to your delivery time, and you may find you get your sleep in shorter stretches.
To help with pregnancy-related insomnia:
- Take warm baths before bed.
- Learn relaxation exercises.
- Lie on one side with a pillow between your legs or use a body pillow that helps you stay in this position.
Regulating sleep may be particularly helpful during pregnancy, because pregnant women are more likely to report sleep disturbances. A study that followed 325 women throughout pregnancy evaluated sleep patterns before pregnancy and during each trimester. Although the total number of hours women slept didn't change during pregnancy, they were more likely to have restless sleep and wake up during the night as pregnancy progressed.
Up to 95 percent of women say they experience sleep changes during pregnancy. Some of the other more common patterns or symptoms when it comes to sleep changes:
- First trimester: Decrease in total time, quality, and an increase in daytime sleepiness and insomnia.
- Second trimester: Tends to be somewhat normal, but about one-fifth of women do experience some disturbances.
- Third trimester: Women wake up to five times a night and report taking naps for over an hour a day, plus the insomnia and daytime fatigue gets worse.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.