a pregnant woman trying to sleep

Trouble Sleeping Soundly While Pregnant

Sleep has probably been hard to come by for a few months now, and as you approach the final weeks of your pregnancy, it won’t get any better. Pregnancy elicits many physiological (and physical) changes in your body, right up through the 38th week of pregnancy. Here are a few tips for getting solid rest in the last few weeks of pregnancy. 

Contractions

As you near the final days of your pregnancy, the fake contractions—also known as Braxton Hicks—you may have been feeling in your pelvic region, lower belly, and back will be replaced by true contractions that are more painful and meddlesome. You will be able to distinguish real contractions from fake ones because they are more painful and tend to extend throughout the uterus and into your lower back and pelvic areas as your body prepares for childbirth.

Discomfort

As you get further into your pregnancy, your body becomes uncomfortable in several ways. Strange, almost electrical tingles inside your vagina and between your legs may wake you up—these tingles result from your growing baby putting pressure against a variety of nerves. Sometimes, you may feel particularly sharp and shooting pains instead of tingles. The sciatic nerve, in particular, can be affected by your pregnancy. If you notice tingling, weakness, or pain in one or both legs and your low back, you may be dealing with sciatica and should talk to your doctor right away.

Anatomical Discomfort

The sheer size of your belly can make things difficult, too. For moms who used to sleep on their stomach or back all the time, having to sleep on your side for nine months can be a tough change. Additionally, your bladder probably isn’t making it through the night anymore. Some women also wake up in the middle of the night without knowing why—and no one else really does either, although the suggested theory is your body preparing for midnight feedings. 

Ways to Make Yourself More Comfortable

If you can’t sleep through the night, try taking small naps during the day. Full body pillows and pregnancy pillows can make a big difference when it comes to discomfort as well. Pregnancy pillows come in a range of sizes, firmness, and prices. Try out a few in store, rather than ordering one online. Full body pillows are readily available in bedding sections for less than $20. The goal is to have support you can place between your legs and beneath your belly without putting extra strain on your body. While you shouldn’t expect to get plenty of sleep once your baby arrives, at least you’ll be more comfortable. Sleep when your baby does, and take it easy until you feel normal again. 

Last Updated: October 31, 2017