Sleep in The Third Trimester of Pregnancy

“Sleep is tricky when you’re pregnant and so there are lots of things you need to know. The first thing is that we all have sleep cycles every night. Your first sleep cycle is your longest. It’s anywhere from two and a half to four hours. After that, your sleep cycles get shorter and shorter. Usually, when you’re not pregnant, you sleep in between your sleep cycles.”

“When you are pregnant, you wake. So waking in between sleep cycles at night is not a sleep disorder as long as you go back to sleep. You may get up. You may go back to the bathroom. You may not actually have to go to the bathroom. You might just wake up and think you do, rollover, and try and go back to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, you can take half a Benadryl. But a lot of times something that you can do to make sleep much more comfortable is to prop with pillows.”

Pillows for Comfort

“I haven’t found that that one pregnancy pillow that wraps all around you works too well. But if you take a pillow and put it between your knees, think about it. Your knees are much closer together than your hips, but a good size pillow between your knees to keep your knees about as far apart as your hips, and then put a pillow, a soft feathery pillow under your belly, and roll up and put one behind your back. That’s going to prop your pelvis in position and your pelvis is loosened by chemicals that are made to help the baby fit through. And if you prop it at night, all those muscles around your pelvis are going to relax and you’re going to sleep so much better and wake up with less pain.”

The Amount of Time Matters

“You want to think about making sure you’ve got plenty of time to sleep. You need eight to nine hours of sleep when you’re pregnant. Understand, if you wake up, it’s not that big of a deal. Just go back to sleep. Go ahead and prop with all your pillows and get totally comfortable and you can flip side to side. Remember, you don’t have to be all the way up on your side when you’re pregnant. You just can’t be flat on your back. If you want to lean back on that back pillow and just be a little tilted, that gives you a whole lot more positions. You can move through with your pillows during the course of the night and get better sleep.”

Medication Options

“So listen, if you can’t find a way to get comfortable at night, there are some other options that you have to help you sleep, and you can talk to your, your doctor or midwife, about that. But two simple things that are usually very acceptable are half a Benadryl or half a Unisom, and that can make a big difference. Magnesium can sometimes help, but check with your provider.”