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Sleep during pregnancy

It is common to feel extremely tired during pregnancy, although some women feel particularly energised and bright during the second trimester. Tiredness may start early on, well before physical signs of the pregnancy show and, although not everyone experiences nausea, it can contribute to tiredness.

Disrupted sleep is common and people may find themselves unusually napping during the day or having vivid dreams. In the third trimester, discomfort, pain and night-time visits to the toilet may increase. Generally, all these things are normal and expected. Poorer sleep quality won’t harm a baby in utero but can be frustrating and hard for the expectant parent. Relaxation methods and sleep hygiene tips may help during this time. These can include:

  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Try getting to bed at the same time and getting up at same time
  • Exercise during day
  • Nap only in the morning if you can
  • Try to have a screen free time of at least an hour prior to bedtime
  • Listen to music, or meditate in bed to help settle to sleep
  • Turn the phone off during the night
  • Have a notebook at the side of your bed in case you think of something
  • Try a bath or shower to lower body temperature just before bedtime
  • Eat earlier if possible

Some pregnant women may experience clinical issues such as restless leg syndrome or night-time reflux. If you are concerned, it is best to discuss these with a doctor or midwife.

There are new guidelines about safe sleeping during late pregnancy that can aid in reducing some of the risks associated with stillbirth. Women are advised to fall sleep on their side, not on their back, from 28 weeks of pregnancy onwards. If you wake up on your back, it is OK to simply roll back on to your side. For further information on safe sleeping in pregnancy, please click here 


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Date of Last Review: August 2021