Trouble Sleeping While Pregnant 2nd Trimester

It’s normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many expectant women experience insomnia starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase, and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed.

It’s normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many expectant women experience insomnia starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase, and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed. As you adjust to your changing body size and life with an ever-growing baby bump, you’ll likely find yourself tossing and turning more than ever before.

Your body is changing in a lot of different ways during pregnancy, and that can affect your sleep. Longer nights and afternoon naps may also be part of the picture. Here are some tips for getting a better night’s rest now and throughout pregnancy.

Pregnant and Cant Sleep 2nd Trimester Mumsnet

How unfair — that when you need it the most, you can’t seem to get it. You keep on telling yourself it’s the last opportunity for a long, long time (at least until your baby starts sleeping through the night). But you still can’t get any. And no, we’re not talking about sex — we’re talking about sleep!

Yup, those blissful Zzzs are somehow eluding you and many other expectant mamas. In fact, insomnia, or the inability to fall or stay sleep, can hit especially hard in the third trimester, when it’s estimated to affect more than 75 percent of moms-to-be.10 Benefits of Exercise During PregnancyHealth Benefits of Pregnancy and Motherhood20 Strong Boy Names With Powerful Meanings18 Unisex Baby Names for a Boy or a Girl6 Surprising Pregnancy Symptoms — for Partners!What Does It Mean to Have an Anterior Placenta?

Health Benefits of Pregnancyand Motherhood

Whether your insomnia or disturbed sleep is related to anxiety, crazy pregnancy dreams, frequent trips to the bathroom or your sweet babe kicking you in the ribs, getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. To help you get a better night’s sleep, here’s more about the causes of insomnia, as well as what you can do to manage and maybe prevent it during pregnancy. 

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard to drift off to sleep or stay asleep at night. This common sleep problem can also cause you to wake up too early and not able to head back to dreamland, and it may make you feel as if the sleep you did manage to get wasn’t refreshing or restorative.

Insomnia, which may affect up to 60 percent of Americans, can impact your mood, energy level, health and work performance.

When does insomnia during pregnancy start?

It’s normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many expectant women experience insomnia starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase, and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed. 

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Still, first trimester woes can force you from your cozy bed and disturb precious sleep too, including morning sickness, which can happen any time of the day or night, and a constant need to pee. But if you’re worried that a case of insomnia may harm your baby, rest assured it won’t. So do your best not to fret — and sometimes, just letting go of these feelings is all it takes to help you sleep. 

What causes pregnancy insomnia?

Like many annoying pregnancy-related symptoms, insomnia can be pinned, in part, to hormonal changes. But along with this usual suspect there are also a whole host of different factors that may conspire to keep you awake at night, including:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Pregnancy heartburnconstipation or morning sickness
  • Aches and pains, including headache, round ligament pain or tender breasts
  • Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
  • Vivid or disturbing dreams
  • A hopped-up metabolism that keeps the heat on even when it’s off
  • Difficulty getting comfortable with your growing belly
  • Kicking, flipping and rolling from your active baby on board
  • Pre-birth anxiety and worries

How long does pregnancy insomnia last?

Since it’s possible to experience insomnia and disrupted sleep at any point during pregnancy, you may be faced with a loss of shut-eye for weeks and months with no real end point in sight. But rather than letting this sleep disorder weigh on you, check in with your doctor at your next prenatal appointment for some help and guidance.

Can you take melatonin during pregnancy? 

Melatonin, a hormone that the body creates naturally to regulate sleep-wake cycles, might seem like an easy fix for a case of insomnia. But because it’s considered a dietary supplement in this country, the regulation of melatonin isn’t as carefully overseen by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) the way other drugs are, and its impact hasn’t been well studied in pregnancy. If you’re struggling with insomnia, your doctor may approve an occasional and very small dosage (such as 1 mg).

There are also other over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids that are considered safe for occasional use in pregnancy, including Unisom, Tylenol PM, Sominex and Nytol, but always check with your doctor before taking these or any kinds of herbal preparations. You should also try not to take sleep aids every night.

Sometimes, doctors recommended taking a magnesium supplement to combat constipation or leg cramps. If that’s the case for you, it makes sense to take it before bed, since magnesium has been touted for its natural muscle-relaxing powers and may help lull you to sleep. Again, always ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or herbal sleep aid during pregnancy.

Is insomnia harmful during pregnancy?

A lost night of sleep during pregnancy here and there isn’t usually a big concern, but continued or chronic inadequate sleep has been linked to gestational diabetes, stress and depression. Insomnia and frequent snoring also have been linked to an increased risk of giving birth to a baby that’s too large or too small for its age, and sleep issues late in pregnancy have been linked to a longer labor and a greater need for a cesarean section.

How to manage pregnancy insomnia

You’re probably getting more shut-eye than you think, but it might not feel that way if your sleep is interrupted, if you’re tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position, or if you’re awake at night feeling anxious about the baby’s birth. To help, here are a couple of ways to manage sleeplessness.

  • Get out of bed. If you’re not asleep after 20 to 30 minutes, get up and find a small, boring task to accomplish (think bill paying for 15 minutes, not scrubbing the toilet) and then try to go to sleep again. You may just be tired enough by that point to get the rest you need.
  • Don’t count the hours. Though most people do best on about eight hours of sleep, some feel fine on less and some need more. Do some quick math and check how you’re feeling on the hours you’re getting. If you’re not chronically tired, you may be sleeping the right amount. 

How to prevent pregnancy insomnia 

You don’t have to take insomnia lying down! Instead, consider a few of the many ways you can try and beat back sleeplessness and finally summon the sandman:

  • Clear the emotional decks. If you have persistent worries that are keeping you up at night, talk about them with a friend or your partner so you can sort them out during daylight hours. You can also try meditation or writing your thoughts on paper.
  • Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Especially in the late afternoon or evening, since they can keep you awake. 
  • Eat small and early. A big meal, eaten late in the evening, can keep you from falling and staying asleep, so try to eat a lighter, earlier dinner.
  • Take your time. Don’t wolf your food down at your evening meal. A leisurely pace can help keep symptoms of heartburn at bay.
  • Top it off. A light snack before you turn in will tide you over until breakfast, but choose a healthy carb-protein pair to keep your blood sugar stable, such as a whole grain muffin and a glass of warm milk, or a cheese stick and a few dried apricots.
  • Slow the flow. Fill your daily requirement of fluids during the earlier in the day and cut back on what you’re drinking after 6 p.m. This may help to cut down on bathroom runs after you’ve hit the hay.
  • Work it out. Getting some daily pregnancy exercise can make you sleepier at night. Just avoid hitting the gym too close to bedtime, since a post-workout buzz can keep you awake.
  • Make a bedtime routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Craft a routine that includes activities such as: light reading, soothing music, gentle yoga poses or relaxation exercises, a warm bath, prenatal massage and sex.
  • Download sleep. There are plenty of apps that promise to help you sleep, so download some of the better-rated ones that rely on self-guided meditation, nature sounds or other white noise.
  • Try nasal strips. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to a pregnancy runny nose, nasal strips may help you breathe more easily at night.
  • Try white noise and black-out shades. Consider a machine that emits a quiet pulse or drone sound and room-darkening curtains to block light that might be keeping you up.
  • Wean off the screen. Using your phone, tablet, e-reader, TV or laptop before bed can mess with your Zzzs. The screen’s blue light alters sleepiness and alertness and suppresses levels of melatonin. Power off at least an hour before bed.
  • Air it out. Is your bedroom too cold? Is it a sauna? Check the temperature, and make sure you’re using a mattress and pillows that provide solid support without feeling like bricks. Open a window to keep the room from getting stuffy — you’re sure to heat up during the night.
  • Get comfy. There is no such thing as too many pillows during pregnancy. Use them to prop you up, support you where you need it or just cozy up to (or better yet, invest in a good pregnancy pillow). After the first trimester, you can also try snoozing upright in a recliner, which will allow you to stay on your back without lying flat.
  • Save your bed for sex and sleep. If you’re doing daytime activities in bed, you might be unwittingly associating that part of your home with being awake — and with stress. Pay your bills in the kitchen, and save the bed for two purposes only — sex and sleeping.
  • Smell your way to sleep. A lavender-scented pillow or sachet tucked into your pillowcase can help you relax and bring on sleep faster.

How to Sleep When Pregnant Second Trimester

Everyone keeps telling you to “get your sleep now” — but that’s a whole lot harder with pregnancy sleep-stealers like heartburn and leg cramps. Here are some tips for overcoming the most common pregnancy sleep problems.


You expected sleep deprivation to come with having a baby — but you may not have expected it to really start until you’d had the baby. Now you know that it can be almost as hard to get enough quality shut-eye when you’re expecting as it is when you’re a new parent. 

As difficult as it might be, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Sleep helps your brain to reset, your over-taxed blood vessels to replenish, your blood sugar levels to stabilize and your immune system to stay strong. That’s why doctors say you should aim to get at least seven hours of quality sleep a night.

But between finding a comfortable sleeping position to accommodate your growing baby bump and pregnancy symptoms like the frequent need to pee, heartburn, leg cramps, nasal congestion and overall discomfort, it’s no wonder that a full night’s rest can be so elusive. To add insult to injury, sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea tend to be more common when you’re expecting. 

Despite all that’s going on in your body and brain, a good night’s sleep during pregnancy is possible. Here are a few of the most common pregnancy sleep problems, along with tips to help you overcome them so you can get the rest you need.

Frequent need to pee

When it happens

Usually in the first and third trimesters.

Why it happens

Higher levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG can mean having to run to the bathroom frequently, day and night. Your kidneys also have to filter up to 50 percent more blood than usual — which also means more urine (in other words, you’re peeing for two). In the third trimester, your growing uterus presses down on your bladder, increasing your urge to go.

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What you can do about it

Drink plenty of liquids throughout the day. Then cut back when it’s closer to bedtime (in another words, it’s probably best not to guzzle a 16-ounce bottle of water right before you go to sleep). 

When you do need to get up to go, leave a night light on in the bathroom (or install a simple dimmer switch). Flipping on the overhead can be too much of a wake-up call and may make it harder to fall back to sleep.

General discomfort

When it happens

Throughout pregnancy, but especially in the second and third trimesters.

Why it happens

Many pregnancy sleep struggles come from just not being able to find a comfortable position to sleep in. In fact, according to one study, almost 80 percent of pregnant women couldn’t find a comfortable sleeping position. 

Inveterate stomach-sleepers eventually can’t sleep in this position. Meanwhile, back sleepers also have to search for a new path to slumber, since it can interfere with circulation later in pregnancy.

What to do about it

Sleeping on your side — your left side, if possible — makes things easier on your circulatory system. It also results in less swelling in your feet, ankles and hands, since it enhances kidney function. 

If you’re not used to the position, it can make falling asleep harder. In that case, pregnancy pillows can help you get comfortable. Pile them up between your knees, under your stomach and behind your back (whatever works!).

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When it happens


Why it happens

While you can experience heartburn at any time of day, it’s often worse at night when you’re lying down. You can thank pregnancy hormones for this painful sensation, as they relax the muscle that normally keeps stomach acid inside the stomach. You’ll also feel a surge in heartburn late in the last trimester, when your baby bump pushes up on your abdomen. 

What you can do about it

Heartburn-soothing strategies like these can help:

  • Avoiding spicy, greasy and acidic foods
  • Eating smaller meals and having dinner at least two hours before bedtime
  • Propping your head up with a couple of pillows
  • Popping antacids (like Tums and Rolaids)
  • Talking to your doctor about proton-pump inhibitors, if nothing else works


When it happens


Why it happens

Anxiety, hormones and any of the above sleep problems can contribute to insomnia during pregnancy, the inability to fall or stay asleep. It’s super common and super frustrating, and it can make you feel even more tired, irritable and unable to function during the day.

What to do about it

Have a good wind-down routine before bed and practice good “sleep hygiene” (read more about how in the tips below). But if you’re still having trouble sleeping and it’s affecting how well you can function during the day, be sure to ask your doctor for help.

If you simply can’t sleep, a therapist might be able to help. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a type of talk therapy that involves pinpointing inaccurate or unhelpful thinking about sleep and learning habits to make things better.

2020 study of 2258 pregnant women with insomnia found that six weekly 20-minute sessions of online CBT-I with a therapist significantly improved most insomnia symptoms. These included how long it takes to fall asleep, sleep quality, interference with daytime functioning and distressing feelings about sleep

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Leg cramps

When it happens

Usually in the second half of pregnancy.

Why it happens

No one’s quite sure what leads to these painful spasms in the calves, but it might be compression of blood vessels in the legs and fatigue as you carry that extra pregnancy weight. Although you’ll sometimes experience leg cramps during the day, they’re typically more common — or at least more noticeable — at night.

What you can do about it

One theory attributes leg cramps to low calcium and magnesium levels. Upping your intake of those minerals in your diet may help. Yogurt and soy are good sources of calcium, while beans are a great source of magnesium. 

Talk to your doctor about whether you should be getting more of these minerals, and if so, how much. Also ask about taking a magnesium supplement before bed. 

A few other tips to banish leg cramps during the day include drinking plenty of water, stretching your legs and wearing support hose. When you get a cramp, try straightening your leg, then gently flexing your foot and ankle toward your nose (without pointing your toes). 

If the pain is severe and persistent, definitely check in with your doctor. Although it’s rare, it’s possible cramps may actually be a sign of a blood clot in the leg.

Nasal congestion

When it happens


Why it happens

Higher estrogen and progesterone levels increase blood volume everywhere — including to the membranes in your nose. This causes them to swell and produce more mucus than ever, leading to a perpetually stuffy nose as well as postnasal drip later on in your pregnancy that might cause you to cough at night.

What you can do about it

Saline nasal sprays and nose strips are safe and can ease nighttime stuffiness. If those don’t work, check with your doctor about other options, including some decongestants or steroid nasal sprays that may be okay to take after the first trimester. Propping your head up with a couple of pillows might help too.

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