Comfortable in pregnancy? Those two words don’t seem like they should be in the same sentence. The further along you get, the more excitement is in the air to meet your little one. But these are some trying times for a busy mama-to-be. It seems impossible to find methods for sleeping comfortably while pregnant, especially in that last month!
How to get comfortable at night isn’t the only thing you may be worried about. There are actually sleep postitions that aren’t recommended for late pregancy.
What you need is some cold hard advice on how to reduce pain, help your body relax, and sleep a little more comfortably while pregnant.
First trimester of pregnancy
During the first trimester of pregnancy, your uterus will grow to the size of a grapefruit and still sit nicely inside your pelvis. This means there are no restrictions for safe sleeping positions during this portion of pregnancy. Feel free to toss and turn without worrying that you are going to do any damage your baby.
You may find that during the first trimester, you are extremely fatigued and are sleeping more than ever. This is due to the change in hormones to support the pregnancy. If you can, allow yourself the extra rest by taking naps during the day or catching up on sleep when you are not at work. You are growing a baby from scratch and you need your rest!
Some of the things that could contribute to poor sleep during the first trimester of pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, and an increased urge to urinate.
Sleep loss from nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are miserable reasons to be losing sleep so I am going to suggest some safe remedies for this. The good new is, studies have actually linked morning sickness to signs of a healthy pregnancy. It means you have plenty of the hormones that support pregnancy flowing through your body.
You may have not heard of homeopathic remedies yet, but they work wonderfully for pregnancy symptoms! Dr. Axe does a great explanation of what is homeopathy for those who have never heard of it.
If your nausea is worse in the morning and vomiting is occurring at random times, try taking Nux Vomica 6C 3 times a day. Nux Vomica can be ordered on Amazon.
If you have non-stop nausea and are even vomiting, try taking the homeopathic preparation of Ipecac 30C 3 times a day. Ipecac can be ordered on Amazon.
It is also helpful to each small frequent meals and keep ginger chew by your bedside at night. You can suck on these as soon as you wake up which will start to raise your blood sugar and soothe your stomach.
Sleep loss from frequent urination
Women need an increase in production of blood when they become pregnant to supply the extra volume necessary to perfuse the placenta. The kidneys also get invited to the extra blood volume party resulting in the not-so-fun side effect of increased urine output.
Unfortunately for us, the bigger our uterus gets, the more it pushes on our already overactive bladder, so this problem never really goes away until MONTHS into the postpartum period.
If you can, try to drink less water as it gets closer to bedtime. This was a real struggle for me. The evening seemed to be the time I finally slowed down and was able to concentrate on hydrating so it wasn’t a feasible option for me.
One thing that did help was leaning forward when I was peeing so that I could completely empty my bladder.
My husband and I actually switched sides of the bed. His side was closer to the bathroom and I wanted to shorten the distance so I wouldn’t wake up as much. This is definitely worth a try because you may find that you are able to go to the bathroom without fully waking up!
Safe sleeping positions for late pregnancy
As you head into your second and third trimester of pregnancy, it becomes time to think about safe sleeping positions.
There are major blood vessels sandwiched in between your uterus and spine. As your uterus gets bigger and heavier, it can compress them and impede the blood flow when you lay on your back.
This means less blood is getting to your baby and increases the risk of miscarriage.
The second trimester begins around 13 weeks and the uterus is not quite high enough to cause problems. It is a good idea however to get yourself used to being in safe sleeping positions for the remainder of your pregnancy. You want to sleep with your left side down because this is the safest way with our human anatomy to keep the blood flowing right.
Sleeping on the right side during pregnancy is better than sleeping on your back, but you may find that it worsens reflux as your uterus presses on your stomach.
I have always been a tummy sleeper and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep on my side. I started practicing when I knew it wouldn’t be critical and by the time I had a big belly, I found sleeping on my left side very comfortable.
Best tips and products for sleeping comfortable while pregnant
1. Use a pregnancy pillow
This is an absolute MUST-HAVE for mid to late pregnancy. You will find that your growing belly needs extra support when you are sleeping on your side to minimize the stretch on your ligaments.
The pregnancy hormone Relaxin causes the ligaments and tendons in your pelvis to loosen up. Those bones need to be able to separate in preparation for birth!
This means as you lay on your side your legs will be further apart. It is no longer comfortable to sleep without something in between them for support.
Pregnancy pillows are amazing for providing comfort not only for sleep but also for extra support when laying on the couch. I even used mine postpartum when I was lounging with my little man.
2. Get a good heating pad
A heating pad can be safely used during pregnancy to alleviate localized aches and pains.
Topical heat will cause vasodilation to the area, increasing blood flow which contains healing cells and nutrients. Heating pads are especially great for your lower back and hips during pregnancy.
I found a heating pad to be very soothing when I finally laid down for the day. It was a great way to prep my mind and body to relax before going to sleep.
3. Ask your man to give you a massage
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to ask? If your hubby doesn’t think to offer you a massage before bed, it’s a great idea to just constantly ask! Eventually it could even become a nightly ritual.
Massage is one of the best ways to relax your growing body and release all the tension that built up from the day. We moms know this but we need a compelling way to convince our men to put forth the effort to massage us.
Tell him that by giving you a massage, he is not only helping you sleep, but is contributing to the vitality of his child due to the fact that massage improves a pregnant woman’s circulation. This means more blood back to the heart and then more blood directly to the placenta.
Hand him the massage oil and don’t give him a chance to say no!
4. Make the ultimate mattress upgrade
If there was ever the time to make sure you are sleeping on the RIGHT mattress, pregnancy is the time to do it! You will be spending 1/3 of your baby’s development on this mattress and the best thing you will ever do for yourself is invest in a mattress that lifts like a hospital bed does.
This was honestly the MAIN reason I managed to sleep comfortably while pregnant.
Being able to elevate your legs really helps take the edge off those throbbing feet. Do this for about 30 minutes before you fall asleep and you will have one less thing keeping you up at night.
If you are considering making a bed upgrade, it will really be the best thing you even do. In fact, you will probably end up saving money because you won’t want to be out shopping anymore. (You will never leave your bed!)
But in all seriousness, I love Naturepedic mattresses because they do mattress right!
All their products are made from GOTS certified organic non-GMO cotton and contains no fire retardant chemicals. Check out their amazing products and minimize your exposure to terrible chemicals! After all, you will spend 1/3 of your pregnancy in your bed. (Or if you are me about half of your pregnancy.)
Check out the Ultimate Organic Baby Registry post for more information on what the GOTS certification actually means.
5. Take an epsom salt bath before bed
Epsom salt baths are so great for pregnancy and just a very relaxing way to end the day. Since epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, it will give your body a little boost in its levels as it is absorbed through the skin during the bath.This means reduced muscle tension and easing of Braxton Hicks contractions for you right before bed!
Epsom salt will also helps to soften your skin. During my third trimester of pregnancy, the skin on my stomach felt so tight. Taking an epsom salt bath before bed did seem to take my mind off of the feeling of being so stretched.
I suggest buying epsom salt in bulk and keeping a stockpile for pregnancy before you get too late! You want to be able to draw yourself a bath whenever your little heart desires and not have to run out to get some.
6. Get regular exercise and don't forget to stretch!
If you truly want to sleep better at night you have to get out and get moving during the day! Even if you weren’t much of an athlete before pregnancy, set a goal for yourself to take a 30 minute walk every day.
Exercise releases endorphins which reduces the brain’s perception of pain. It keeps your body strong and limber. And as much I hate to admit it, getting exercise tuckers you out!
7. Design an environment that promotes sleep
Set yourself up for success for sleeping during pregnancy by getting your room as dark as possible with blackout shades. This way even if you do take a while to fall asleep, the morning sun won’t wake you up and you can catch a few more ZZZs on the tail end.
Keep a diffuser in your room and diffuse some lavender essential oil.
Get a smart thermostat and have it automatically cool the house around 8 pm.
You could even invest in a white noise machine or app on your phone that plays the sound of rain or something soothing to your ear.
8. Wear compression gear during the day
If you want to be more comfortable at night, you have to use compression gear during the day!
Wearing compression gear during the day helps to promote blood return to the heart and reduces swelling in your feet, ankles, and legs.
It also may minimize the amount of varicose veins you develop during pregnancy.
Being upright all day as a pregnant person causes your blood starts to pool in your lower extremities. When you lay down for the night that blood gets returned to the heart.The heart pumps the blood to the kidneys, the kidneys make even more urine, and you are waking up to pee all night long!
Instead, you can wear compression gear during the day so you are peeing your extra fluid out during the day instead of all night long (can you tell I am a nurse ).
Are you working on decorating your nursery? Want a fun daily log to keep track of when your baby eats, sleeps, and poops? Download your free gift and add it to your favorite frame!