Tips to Sleeping in Each Trimester of Pregnancy

Getting Your Sleep in the Second Trimester (Months 4 to 6)

For many women, the second trimester comes with a big sigh of relief. The risk for miscarriage drops quite a bit, and the symptoms of morning sickness tend to subside. In addition to the hormones leveling off, many women notice a break from the drastic fatigue they may have felt during the first trimester. Also, due to the balancing of hormone levels, the need to run to the bathroom so often lightens up a bit, allowing you to sleep more at night.
In general, a woman's energy level will improve during these next three months, with morning sickness and frequent urination usually improving as well. However, other issues tend to surface during the second trimester. Some of these things may include:
These common pregnancy symptoms can become bothersome enough to interrupt a good night's sleep for many women. However, there are some remedies that may help or at least lessen the symptoms. For instance, some common ways to help minimize or prevent heartburn during pregnancy include:
  • Avoiding fried, greasy, or highly seasoned foods.
  • Eating several small meals rather than three large meals a day.
  • Avoiding coffee and mint teas, as they can make heartburn worse.
  • Sipping water, papaya juice, or milk to help with heartburn.
  • Eating yogurt, heavy cream, or a small dish of plain ice cream.
  • Avoiding lying down immediately after eating. When you do lie down, use pillows to slightly raise your head.
  • Avoiding acidic foods, including tomatoes, red peppers, citrus fruits, and chocolate.
  • Using antacids. However, talk to your healthcare provider, as some antacids are high in salt and may contain minerals that can be harmful in large amounts. Also, heartburn medicines that contain aspirin (such as Alka-Seltzer®) should never be taken during pregnancy.
Some women may also develop something called restless legs syndrome (RLS), which is a type of neurological sleep disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs for relief. Some of the symptoms of RLS include a creeping, itching, or throbbing feeling in the legs. Research has shown that up to 40 percent of pregnant women develop RLS during pregnancy. Because this condition tends to flare up at night when you're lying down, it can severely disrupt a pregnant woman's ability to sleep.
Some of the ways to help with this common leg problem include:
  • Decreasing the use of caffeine, as it can make RLS symptoms worse
  • Taking certain supplements, such as iron if you have anemia (which can increase the risk for RLS)
  • Taking warm baths or using a heating pad/ice pack
  • Improving your sleep patterns, as RLS can become worse if you are fatigued
  • Exercising and stretching daily
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Sleeping with a pillow between your legs, which may prevent nerves in your legs from compressing.
While some women sail through the second trimester without any problems sleeping, many women will experience symptoms bothersome enough to interrupt a good night's sleep. Using some of these tips during the second trimester can help you to get that good sleep you need.
Try to enjoy the second trimester and get as much sleep as possible. The third trimester, and for a length of time after the baby is born, is a time where you will find many challenges in getting several hours of sleep in a row, so enjoy it while it lasts!
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