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What You Can Do About Pregnancy Insomnia

Pregnancy insomnia is a real problem that many women experience, and unfortunately the majority of sleeping medications, even all natural and over the counter pills and supplements, can't be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing.

This leaves many pregnant women constantly tired and fatigued, and feeling like they're simply stuck with only being able to sleep a few hours a night until their baby is born. 

Fortunately there is hope for all you women out there with pregnancy insomnia, and there are a number of tips, techniques, and products that should be able to help you get the rest necessary for your health and that of your unborn child. 

A woman undergoes major mental and physical changes during pregnancy, and any or all of these changes can cause serious disruptions to sleeping patterns, often preventing the expecting mother from falling asleep or causing them to constantly wake up throughout the night. 

Insomnia and sleeping problems can happen at any time over those 9 months, with some women only periodically experiencing troubles sleeping while others can go for days or weeks without a full night's sleep. 

Still, the problems tend to always worsen during the later stages, with almost all women reporting at least periodic bouts of insomnia in the last few weeks of their pregnancy.

The causes of insomnia during pregnancy can be anything from pain or discomfort, to anxiety and worry, and of course, you can't forget the constant need to urinate from the womb pressing in on the bladder. In order to be able to effectively treat insomnia during pregnancy, you first need to be able to identify and understand the underlying cause or causes. 

pregnancy insomniaUnlike other forms of insomnia, it's usually pretty easy to determine whatever is keeping you awake or causing you to wake up during the night.

By studying when and why you experience insomnia, you can then focus on finding a solution to each of the different factors. Keeping a sleep diary is a useful way to start identifying these factors, and involves simply writing down information about each night's sleep, including:

  • The time you went to bed
  • The time you actually fell asleep
  • If you woke up during the night, note down the time, why you think you woke up (need to urinate, pain, nightmares, etc.), and how long you stayed awake for
  • How many hours in total you slept
After keeping a diary for a few days or weeks, you should be able to determine the causes of your insomnia and then work towards eliminating or managing these factors.

Treating the Different Causes of Pregnancy Insomnia

Anxiety, Stress, Worries, and Nightmares

If your brain keeps turning long after you're ready to go to sleep and your thoughts, stresses, or worries are keeping you awake, or if you constantly wake up due to nightmares, you need to concentrate on finding a way to calm and relax yourself in order to let go of all of that nervous brain activity. 

pregnancy insomniaThe first step is to always wait to go to be until you are actually tired or groggy. Going to bed before you're tired will just cause you to worry even more about your inability to fall asleep and thus make your insomnia worse, so wait to your tired and then go straight to bed.

If you're having a hard time relaxing, you might try a hot bath. You can even add calming aromatherapy oils like lavender or chamomile to the bath or listen to soothing ambient music, both of which should help you to relax and unwind before bed. 

If this doesn't work, you might want to consider meditation or using progressive relaxation to release tension and anxiety from both your mind and body. Many pregnant women have also had great success with hypnotherapy for insomnia and self-hypnosis, both of which have been proven to effectively treat all forms of insomnia caused by a variety of different mental and physical factors.


If you wake up and find yourself unable to fall back to sleep after 30 minutes or so, you should get up and read or do some other mindless activity until you feel tired enough to go back to bed. However, you shouldn't turn on the TV or the computer, as the artificial light will only further stimulate your brain and keep you awake. Furthermore, even when you finally do fall asleep, especially if in front of the TV, the sleep will be poor quality.

Frequently Needing to Get Out of Bed to Use the Bathroom

One of the most common complaints from pregnant women is that they wake up every few hours due to the need to urinate. In the later stages of pregnancy, there's not a whole lot you can do about this, as not only does the womb press in on the bladder and reduce its capacity by as much as half, but you are also peeing for two. 

The only thing you can really do about this problem is try to avoid drinking anything for an hour or two before going to bed if at all possible. Still, your baby's health depends on you staying well hydrated so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Insomnia Due to Pain and Discomfort

pregnancy insomniaMany women also report pregnancy insomnia due to lower back pain, headaches, heartburn, or simply not being able to find a comfortable position to lie in. If this is the case, even the most comfortable bed won't be enough to let you sleep peacefully through the night. 

However, there are many pregnancy pillows available that are quite effective at treating any of these physical factors causing insomnia during pregnancy. Many of these pillows wrap around the body, fully supporting the back and belly, while also keeping the head and neck properly elevated to prevent headaches and heartburn. In addition, most can be clinched between the knees, preventing hip pain and regulating body temperature.

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