Your Ultimate Information Platform

How To Sleep When Pregnant



Being pregnant is a beautiful thing that many women go through during their lifetime, however, there are some parts to the experience which are not so great – sleeping is one of these. For some women, being pregnant can cause them to suffer with insomnia, wind, sleep apnea, having to constantly go to the toilet, acid reflux, and cramp, which can and do all impact on the quality of sleep that pregnant women get.

Pregnancy sleep

Many women that are pregnant have problems with sleeping within the first 1 to 13 weeks (first trimester) due to problems, such as constipation, heartburn, increased urination, swollen breasts, and nausea all interrupt their sleep. During weeks 14 to 27 (second trimester) these symptoms should begin to start easing and so sleep becomes better, thus increasing energy levels during the day. However, these earlier symptoms may come back from 28 weeks onwards (third trimester) as the fetus comes closer to coming out. This discomfort that pregnant women feel during the night can be reduced by placing pillows in certain positions or by the use of a special mattress, such as a Puffy, that relieves pressure – Puffy offer a size comparison chart for your mattress.

Sleep disorders during pregnancy

There are a number of different sleep disorders that women may experience during pregnancy. These include the following:

  • Acid reflux and heartburn – As you can imagine, trying to sleep whilst experiencing heartburn is not something that is conducive to a good night’s sleep. During the first 1 to 13 weeks of pregnancy a woman’s digestive system starts to slow down due to the fetus pulling nutrients from the mother. However, as the placenta starts to do its thing from the 13th week onwards, any acid reflux or heartburn that was previously experienced should start to ease up. That being said, for some women these problems do not go away throughout the whole pregnancy. Sleeping on a specialist wedge pillow, doing yoga before bed, and taking antacids can all help to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Restless leg syndrome – For any pregnant woman that has experienced restless leg syndrome before, they will tell you that getting a peaceful sleep at night is almost impossible. This is due to the constant itching, pulling, and crawling sensations that are felt in their legs when attempting to fall to sleep. The latest research shows that restless leg syndrome is actually linked to lower levels of iron within the brain. To combat this issue, pregnant women are advised to take a folic acid and iron supplement. This should happen less during the second trimester as estrogen levels start to drop.
  • Sleep apnea – This medical condition has the potential to become serious as it stops pregnant women from breathing for a short moment. Whilst it may not be sufficient to wake someone up, it does have the potential to seriously disrupt sleep. Those pregnant women that are having problems with their blood pressure are much more likely to develop sleep apnea. The ideal position to sleep in to combat sleep apnea is with both the back and the head elevated ever so slightly. Using a specialist wedge pillow or multiple pillows allows pregnant women to achieve the perfect sleeping position. In the worst cases, women can use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that sits over their mouth and nose during sleep to ensure that they are always getting enough air in their lungs.
  • Insomnia – Pregnant women experience this primarily during the first trimester and the third one. Trying to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night becomes almost impossible as it becomes increasingly difficult to fall and stay asleep for any meaningful length of time. This leaves pregnant women feeling tired and sleepy during the day time. Having a short nap of just 20 minutes is enough to really boost energy levels.

Positions for pregnant sleeping

There are a number of different positions that women can sleep in during their pregnancy. These include the following:

  • Combination – Those pregnant women that sleep in a variety of different positions throughout the night will get much benefit from using a specialist pregnancy pillow. Body pillows are used for any sleeping position and really do help pregnant women to stay sleeping on their side when propped up against their back.
  • Stomach – During the first trimester, sleeping on the stomach can be a comfortable position to adopt. However, once a pregnant woman’s stomach becomes more prominent, they should aim to sleep on their side instead. This is the best position to adopt as it provides a great level of comfort for a restful night of sleep.
  • Back – Sleeping on the back should be avoided by pregnant women, especially during the second trimester and the third one. It is not only more comfortable for mother and baby to sleep on their side but it is also much safer for them too. Sleeping on the back can make any back pain that is being experienced much worse and can even lead to stillbirth in some women.
  • Side – This is the best position for pregnant women to sleep in, particularly during the second trimester and the third one. Pregnant women should aim to sleep on their left side as this allows them to breathe much easier; puts less pressure on certain organs, such as the kidneys and liver; and eases the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. When sleeping on their side, pregnant women should use a specialist pregnancy pillow to make themselves more comfortable.


Each and every pregnant woman will have a different experience when it comes to sleeping during their pregnancy. Whilst some find the whole thing pretty easy, only experiencing very minor symptoms, others have a much more difficult experience. When pregnant, it is important that women practice lots of self care and they should never feel guilty about cancelling engagements or eating too much. Growing a baby can be a very tiring and uncomfortable process. It is important to get rest whenever it is needed, including sleep.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.