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Pregnancy Insomnia - Causes and how to combat them

Pregnancy Insomnia - Causes and how to combat them

As a pregnant woman, you have probably been warned of the restless nights you will experience when the baby comes, but what about now? What about your nights spent awake staring at the ceiling despite being exhausted. Among the multiple struggles of pregnancy is the dreaded pregnancy insomnia. While almost 75% of women experience pregnancy insomnia (particularly in the third trimester) it is not as widely talked about. In this article, we will talk about what causes pregnancy insomnia, how long it lasts, and how to deal with it. 

What is pregnancy insomnia?

According to WebMD insomnia is “a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep.” Insomnia can be caused by any number of problems and typically lasts a couple of nights. Chronic insomnia occurs multiple nights a week for multiple months. Pregnancy insomnia is insomnia that is induced by being pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms such as pregnancy dreams, frequent urination, inability to get comfortable, and heartburn can all lead to pregnancy insomnia. While it is annoying, insomnia is not dangerous for your baby’s health. 

What causes pregnancy insomnia?

Typical pregnancy symptoms are often the main source of pregnancy insomnia. Your body is going through many changes, so it can take a lot of adjustment to get comfortable. Pregnancy insomnia can be caused by 


  • Heartburn
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vivid dreams
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Leg cramps
  • Shortness of breath

Causes of pregnancy insomnia are not limited to this list. Increased anxiety about labor, delivery, and being a mother can also lead to insomnia as well. 

How long does it last?

Pregnancy insomnia can last throughout your entire pregnancy. But the good thing about pregnancy insomnia is that it is not permanent. Pregnant women will typically develop insomnia in the late 2nd trimester or the early 3rd trimester. This is due to your growing belly and your increased inability to get comfortable. Thankfully, after you have given birth the things keeping you awake should stop. Pregnancy insomnia may stop, but you may have trouble sleeping for other reasons. If you are still having trouble sleeping after you give birth, talk to your doctor about it. 

How to combat pregnancy insomnia

When it comes to pregnancy insomnia there are two ways you can approach the problem. You can learn to manage it or you can try to prevent it. Both ways are effective and trying to do both will get you the best outcome. 

Managing insomnia

Some nights may be worse than others when it comes to your pregnancy insomnia. So, learning ways to manage those nights is key to getting as much rest as possible. If you find yourself unable to get comfortable, unable to fall asleep, or waking up multiple times a night try out these techniques. 

  • Get out of bed. While it may seem counter-intuitive getting out of bed and occupying your mind can help you fall asleep. Particularly if you are stuck in an anxiety rut and are unable to control your wandering thoughts. Get out of bed and read for a little bit, or start on a coloring page. Anything to keep your brain occupied while keeping your body at rest. If you do this for about 20-30 minutes your brain may finally catch up and you may find yourself yawning. As soon as you begin to feel tired, get back into bed, and try to fall asleep. 
  • Stretch it out. If you are having trouble getting to sleep because you are uncomfortable, try getting out of bed and stretching. Doing some lunges, or stretching your hamstrings can help with restless legs or leg cramps. 
  • Sleep as much as you can and keep track. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some nights you may get loads of sleep, while others you may get none. While it may feel like you are not getting enough sleep it is possible that you actually are. Try downloading a sleeping app on your phone and track how much you are sleeping a night. Then, log how you feel every day and see if you can find trends. Some people may discover they only need about 6 hours of sleep to feel awake, while others may discover they need 9. Knowing what your body needs can help you feel better prepared for the day if you don’t get as much as you need.

Preventing Pregnancy Insomnia

Just like a growing belly, pregnancy insomnia is one of those things that you are probably not going to avoid. The physical and mental stress of pregnancy is bound to interrupt your sleep at least a few nights out of your pregnancy. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get the best night’s sleep. Try to prevent pregnancy insomnia as much as you can by following these techniques. 

    • Avoid caffeine. Particularly, when it is close to your bedtime.
    • Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Eating too much and too fast can cause you to have heartburn or stomach problems. Try to eat earlier in the evening so that you can avoid the discomfort. 
  • Work out. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. This can help make you tired later in the evening and help you stay asleep.
  • Stop water intake. Try not to drink anything an hour before bed. This can prevent you from having to make any middle of the night toilet runs.
  • Create a bedtime routine. Having a specific bedtime routine will train your body to become sleepy at the same time. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and try to stop electronic usage at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. 
    • Download an app. Meditation apps such as Sleep can help soothe a racing mind and help you feel tired.
    • Get a white noise machine. If you are a light sleeper this is an excellent investment. The white noise will help to drown out any other noises that could prevent you from falling asleep.
    • Get as comfortable as possible. Make sure that you have a lot of pillows and that you are not too hot. Body pillows are a pregnant woman’s best friend. Particularly in the third trimester when your belly is big and cumbersome. 

    Key Takeaways

    Pregnancy insomnia is when a pregnant woman is unable to fall asleep or has a difficult time staying asleep. It typically occurs in the 2-3rd trimester, but it can last throughout the entire pregnancy. Taking steps to manage it and prevent it is the best way to combat pregnancy insomnia. Thankfully, pregnancy insomnia should end after labor and delivery but other things can prevent you from getting sleep. 


    After your baby has arrived, your body will be experiencing a lot of changes. Investing in a Bellefit postpartum girdle can help you stay asleep and feel less pain after your labor. A postpartum girdle is a compression garment that eases the residual pain that occurs after childbirth. Invest in a better night’s sleep and deeper sleep by getting a Bellefit postpartum girdle today.
    This entry was posted in Medical Conditions, Pregnancy . Bookmark the permalink.
    Cynthia Suarez

    • Dec 31, 2020
    • Category: News