Tips to Sleeping in Each Trimester of Pregnancy

Sleeping During the Third Trimester (Months 7 to 9)

By the third trimester, many moms-to-be will experience the most sleep challenges to date during their pregnancy. This is a time of more trips to the bathroom (especially at night), greater exhaustion, more movements by the baby at night, and just generally being uncomfortable. Other possible problems that may interrupt your ability to sleep during this time include:
 
 
There's not a whole lot you can do about how much and when your baby moves; in fact, many expectant mothers will become so accustomed to their baby's movement that they may start to worry when they don't feel the baby move for more than a few minutes.
 
Backaches are common in the last three months of pregnancy as the baby grows and puts more pressure on your back. This can be particularly bothersome at night when you are trying to sleep and unable to get comfortable. Some tips for minimizing back pain so you can sleep better include:
 
  • Wearing a maternity support belt to help lift the baby off your pelvis and alleviate some of the pressure on your back
  • Being careful when lifting objects; always bend your knees rather than bending over at the waist
  • Wearing good shoes that have low heels and good support
  • Exercising, such as prenatal exercise, yoga, or swimming classes
  • Taking warm baths or using warm compresses on your back.
 
Before taking any medications for back pain, talk to your healthcare provider. Many pain medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and other painkillers, can be potentially harmful during pregnancy.
 
It may also become more and more difficult to breathe as your growing baby starts to scrunch up underneath your lungs and puts pressure on your diaphragm. Some things you can try at night to help you breathe better include:
 
  • Sleeping with your head elevated by pillows
  • Holding your arms up over your head, which helps raise the rib cage and gives you a little more breathing space
  • Taking some deep breaths while relaxing, which will help you use your lung space to its greatest capacity.
 
While this can be a difficult part of your pregnancy, there will soon be some relief. Toward the end of your pregnancy, "lightening" occurs, which is when the baby drops down into the pelvis to prepare for delivery. After this happens, the pressure will be relieved off your diaphragm and you will have some more room to breathe.
 
If you are noticing more serious breathing problems while you are sleeping, such as severe snoring or pauses in your breathing, make sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider. These may be indications of other problems, such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, or other health risks that can affect your pregnancy.
 
Another possible problem during pregnancy is sciatic pain. During pregnancy, the pelvic joints relax to help make room for the baby and to prepare for birth. This can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can cause pain down the thigh and into the leg. Sciatic pain can make it quite difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in; however, you may try:
 
  • Sleeping on your side, with one leg forward, supported on a pillow, and the other leg back (similar to a running position)
  • Using a heating pad or hot water bottle
  • Massaging the area.
 
If you are struggling with sleep during the third trimester, try not to be too concerned with it. Just rest when you can, even if it is only for two to three hours at a time. Although this is difficult, it does help prepare you for those sleepless nights that are coming up once your baby arrives.
 
Pregnancy and Pain

Pregnancy Info

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