Pregnancy and Insomnia

In too many instances, pregnancy seems to bring with it side effects that just aren’t particularly pleasant. One of the more common side effects of pregnancy can be insomnia. Many women – perhaps as many as half of all women – will experience some degree or another of sleep interruption during their pregnancy. Insomnia during pregnancy is particularly frustrating, making it hard to really relish these days as you should.

There are several different things that contribute to insomnia during pregnancy. The first contributor is related to a hormone change during pregnancy. Progesterone increases greatly during your first trimester, and there are a couple of ways that it helps to increase insomnia. First, progesterone usually has a fatiguing effect on many women. It’s also somewhat sedative. This makes you feel more tired than you normally would be, leading to more daytime naps and therefore less sleep at night.

In the late months of pregnancy, other issues can keep interfering with your sleep. For example, your growing baby makes your growing belly get in the way, and makes it harder to get into a comfortable position when you’re in bed. On top of that, your baby can press more and more on your bladder, causing you to wake up during the night and even having to get up several times to pee. Many women also experience leg cramps during the third trimester, which can be a very common cause of insomnia during pregnancy.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deal with insomnia during your pregnancy. Some women have had success with herbal teas to help them sleep at night. You’ll want to take care before using any sleep medications, and talk with your doctor before you do. Some are safe to use during pregnancy, whereas others may not be safe to use during pregnancy.

Other methods women use to deal with insomnia during pregnancy include the use of a relaxation or white noise CD or MP3, cutting back on caffeine, exercise, and even stress reduction techniques, as it’s particularly common for stress to contribute to insomnia, both during pregnancy and at other times in your life.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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