Pregnancy is a roller-coaster ride of change for most women, and sleep during this exciting but challenging stage of life is no exception. Hormonal changes, a growing abdomen, acid reflux, and hourly runs to the toilet are among the challenges you may face when you’re expecting. If you’re pregnant or want to know how to best support your pregnant partner, read on for how sleep typically progresses through the trimesters.
During the first trimester, it’s very likely that you’ll feel sleepy during the day. That’s because a high amount of a hormone called progesterone, often called the "hormone of pregnancy," is surging through your body. Oddly enough, this hormone makes you sleepy through the day but compounds the problem by disturbing sleep at night. You may also find it difficult to get comfortable at night, thanks to tenderness in your breasts, morning sickness, and a constant need to urinate.
If your schedule permits it, you should rest as much as possible during this phase. A daily nap between 2 and 4 pm is a good idea (later may make it even harder to sleep through the night). If you sleep on your back or stomach, this is a good time to get used to sleeping on your side—preferably the left, since this position helps vital fluids and nutrients reach the developing fetus. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, but cut them out in the evening to help reduce the frequency of nighttime bathroom runs.
If you’re sleeping well in the second trimester, enjoy it while you can, because this is probably the best it’s going to get for a while (sorry). In this phase, your hormones have stabilized somewhat and morning sickness is likely behind you. Many refer to the second trimester as the "honeymoon phase" of pregnancy. That said, you may struggle with snoring (admittedly more of a problem for your partner), restless leg syndrome, and even unusually vivid dreams thanks to anxiety. Speak to your healthcare provider if you’re having trouble sleeping in this trimester.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your sleep during the third trimester will likely be the worst of the entire pregnancy. This is mostly thanks to your baby belly, as well as heartburn, restless legs, and the return of bladder pressure (an old friend from the first trimester). Many women find it helpful to sleep on their left side and keep a pillow or folded towel underneath their belly, between their knees, and behind their back. As with the first trimester, cut down on fluids in the late afternoon and evening. If you’re waking up multiple times through the night despite practicing these tips, unfortunately, there’s not much to be done at this stage—just think of it as practice for having a newborn!
All in all, with the unique challenges of pregnancy, it’s important to get as much rest as you can. Being well-rested significantly decreases your risk of complications during birth. Practice new parent. Lastly, if you’re pregnant and have been putting off upgrading your mattress, now is the time. A Regal sleep specialist will be happy to find the best fit for your changing body.