Insomnia can be hard enough to deal with normally, and you may be wondering how you’re going to cope with it now that you’re pregnant. Whether you’re a new mom or an experienced mother looking for new tips, here’s what to expect and how to handle pregnancy insomnia during each trimester.


First Trimester

The first trimester will be one of the times insomnia can hit the hardest. Your body is quickly adjusting to carrying a baby and all those new pregnancy hormones. Some factors that can cause insomnia in early pregnancy can include: nausea, needing to urinate, back pain, heartburn, and even stress or anxiety.

  • To get a handle on your symptoms, it’s best to start a bedtime routine as soon as possible. As the months roll by you can adjust, but setting up habits and cues for your body to get to sleep and stay asleep now instead of later, will help you tremendously. 
  • As part of your bedtime routine, try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. It’s tempting to sleep in, but that could develop into a bad habit that’s hard to ditch later on. 
  • Before going to bed, try to limit screen time and do something relaxing, like reading a book or meditating. Remember 8 hours is always key for a healthy, good night’s sleep!
  • To cut down on middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, try to get a majority of your daily hydration in a couple of hours before bed.

Second Trimester

The second trimester will be a bit easier. Your body will have gotten more used to the pregnancy, but it also isn’t quite time for it to prepare for the birth of your baby. You may experience more energy, less night trips to the bathroom, and the nausea subsiding. 

  • Even if you feel more energetic and want to get more done during this time, it may be in your best interest to just take it slow and get as much rest as you can, especially at night. Keep to your bedtime routine you’ve established in your first trimester! 
  • Try not to nap long during the day, as it could hinder your nighttime sleep.
  • With more energy, you may be more in the mood to do some light exercising: a healthy habit itself, and it will help tire you out for sleep at night.
  • If you find yourself worrying or experiencing anxiety that is interfering with your sleep, try talking to your partner, a friend, or a family member to help work through what’s troubling your mind. It may also be helpful to keep a notepad and pen near your bed to write down your thoughts or dreams you’ve had. 
  • Vivid pregnancy dreams and nightmares are common, but especially worrisome dreams can still be worth talking about with a doctor or therapist.
  • Try eating dinner a little early, and pacing yourself as you eat so that you can cut down on chances of heartburn during the night.


Third Trimester

Your third trimester will be the most difficult: your body is preparing for birth and the baby (and your baby bump) is at its largest. You may also feel immensely exhausted in this phase in your pregnancy. 

  • To combat pain and discomfort during sleep, use a pregnancy pillow to take some of the pressure off your body
  • Try sleeping on your left side for better blood flow and as a way to avoid laying on your back. The reason for this is to prevent back pain as well as allow the inferior vena cava to flow freely. The inferior vena cava is a major blood vessel that brings deoxygenated blood back to your heart. This vein sits on the right side of your body, which is why doctors suggest sleeping on your left to allow optimal blood flow. 
  • If you develop Restless Legs Syndrome, check with your doctor about iron deficiency. If you’re noticing leg cramps, try straightening your leg and flexing your foot upward. 
  • Experiencing trouble breathing or consecutive nights without sleep? Talk to your doctor about solutions.

mt auburn obgyn pregnancy insomnia

Each stage of your pregnancy will bring forth different hurdles. Insomnia can be a struggle, but ensuring you have a routine will do wonders in getting through it. Remember to check with your doctor before taking any medications to help with insomnia. If you are experiencing persistent struggles with insomnia, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.