Third Trimester Sleep Tips & Advice
Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative time for women, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. This is especially true during your third trimester. By now, you know all the foods to avoid while pregnant, but as the baby grows and you get closer and closer to your due date, finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes increasingly difficult. Third trimester insomnia is real, and as a result, many pregnant women suffer from sleep disturbances, leading to fatigue, irritability, and mood swings.
However, some tips and tricks can help alleviate these sleep problems and ensure a more restful night's sleep during the third trimester. Here are some of the best tips and sleeping positions during pregnancy.
What Is Third Trimester Sleep Insomnia?
While not unique to pregnancy, insomnia is the perception of inadequate or poor-quality sleep. Sleep loss during pregnancy happens for several reasons, including physical discomfort, back pain, heartburn, repeatedly getting up to use the bathroom, hormonal changes, anxiety, and vivid dreams. (If you’ve never been pregnant, it’s hard to articulate how wild pregnancy dreams can be. Imagine the dream where your teeth fall out or you forgot to study for a test amplified times five.)
While poor sleep can be frustrating, remember that it’s not harmful to your baby, and more than three-fourths of pregnant women are affected by insomnia.
If you’re pregnant and can’t sleep: Mylicon is here to offer a few mom-approved solutions to help get you that much-deserved rest—even if it’s just for a few hours. From aaxing bedtime routine to sleeping positions during pregnancy, relief is on the way!
Sleeping Positions for Pregnant Moms
One way you can help relieve third trimester insomnia is to find a comfortable and safe sleep position for both you and your baby. Tossing and turning? Try one of the best sleeping positions for the third trimester.
- Side sleep: Most mothers-to-be will find sleeping on their side to be their preferred position—and their doctors like it, too. “SOS,” or sleeping on side, provides the best circulation for you and your baby. This is because it places the least pressure on your veins and internal organs. Did you know that sleeping on your left side can increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby?
- Elevated sleep: In the home stretch of pregnancy, you might find that you’re short of breath a lot. One way to find relief is propping yourself up while you snooze. You could use pillows or take the opportunity to break in that reclining nursery chair. (Check out our advice for nursery organization tips.)
- Pillow-supported sleep: Placing a pillow between your bent knees is a go-to sleep trick for moms-to-be to reduce pressure on the lower back, as is wedging a small pillow between your belly and the mattress. The retail market is saturated with pregnancy pillows of every shape and size—some of which are full-length and almost human-sized! While buying a specific pillow isn’t necessary, it can be a source of comfort.
Sleeping on Your Back and Belly While Pregnant?
As your belly changes from “baby bloat” in the first trimester to a cute second trimester bump and a can’t-miss-it baby on board belly in the third trimester, your growing abdomen rests on your intestines and major blood vessels. This is why sleeping on your back while pregnant can cause problems like backaches, trouble breathing, high blood pressure, and decreasing the circulation to your heart and your baby.
Using a pillow behind your back can help keep you on your side during the night. Don't stress too much if you occasionally wake up on your back. After all, you don’t need one more thing to keep you up at night! If you’re sharing your sleep space with a partner, ask them to wake you up if they notice you sleeping on your back.
Pre-pregnancy stomach sleepers might find pregnancy sleep to be particularly challenging. Enlarged and tender breasts and your growing abdomen make this pregnancy sleep position more than a little uncomfortable. Donut-shaped pillows can help ease the transition to becoming a side sleeper.
Bedtime Routine to Improve Third Trimester Sleep
A consistent sleep routine for newborns, infants, and toddlers is essential, but it can also be a great natural sleep aid for pregnant women struggling with third trimester insomnia. Here’s a sample bedtime routine to try out:
- Do some pregnancy-approved gentle stretching.
- Take a bath or shower.
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and visualization.
- Limit caffeine intake after 3 PM and instead opt for aaxing tea before bedtime.
Establishing good sleep hygiene is important for anyone, but it is especially important for pregnant women who need extra rest. This includes avoiding caffeine and heavy meals before bedtime, creating aaxing sleep environment, and limiting screen time before bed. These habits can help promote a better quality of sleep and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Exercise During the Third Trimester
Getting 30 minutes of exercise can help improve your sleep, but try to avoid exercise in the hours before bedtime if you can. Be sure to connect with your physician before starting any new exercises, and make sure you’re familiar with some of the activities to avoid while pregnant. While it’s not advised to develop a newfound cross training habit or start running marathons, there are a lot of options for third trimester exercises. Remember to take breaks when needed and listen to your body, making modifications as needed. Here are a few to get you started and inspired.
- Try a low-impact exercise. Walking in supportive tennis shoes, prenatal yoga or pilates, and swimming are all great options. Prenatal yoga and pilates are excellent options because they use gentle movements that focus on strengthening your core and pelvic floor—both of which help with stability, comfort, labor, and birth.
- Pelvic floor exercises. While not a full-body workout, pelvic floor exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which are important for pregnancy, labor, postpartum, and beyond. Ask your doctor for a list of exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Train with a certified prenatal instructor. Taking a group class or streaming a workout at home? Look for certified prenatal instructors and pregnancy-specific classes. Those instructors and classes will offer pregnancy-safe modifications.
While well-meaning people telling you to rest up and “enjoy sleep while you can” is annoying (to say the least), trying our recommended sleeping positions and techniques can help bring you some restful sleep.
If sleep disturbances persist or are causing significant discomfort, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. They may be able to provide additional recommendations or suggest pregnancy-safe sleep aids or medications to help improve sleep quality.
While you wait to meet your baby, read about what to expect at their first pediatrician visit. And don’t forget to have a bottle of Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Drops on hand. Mylicon works gently to speed up a baby’s natural process of getting rid of gas, relieving pressure and discomfort. Safe for use with all infants—even the newest of newborns—Mylicon can be used at every feeding, up to 12 times a day (use only as directed).