Good sleep during pregnancy

During pregnancy, many women cannot get restful sleep. Here we explain why pregnant women increasingly suffer from sleep disorders and what they can do to sleep well again despite the baby bump and hormonal carousel.

Table of Contents

  1. Sleep problems during pregnancy
  2. Reasons for poor sleep during pregnancy
  3. Five sleep tips for pregnant women
  4. Conclusion

1. Sleep problems during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the female body changes in many ways. It adapts completely to the child's development and adapts to the new circumstances and tasks. The physical and hormonal changes require a lot of energy, which often leads to severe fatigue, especially at the beginning of pregnancy. Despite the increased need for sleep, sleep is often poorer. According to surveys, almost 80% of women suffer from poor sleep quality during pregnancy. There are various reasons for this.

2. Reasons for poor sleep during pregnancy

Hormonal fluctuations

The hormones estrogen and progesterone play the most important role during pregnancy.

Schlafmagazin: Hormone in der Schwangerschaft

From the beginning of pregnancy, increased progesterone is released in the female body. This hormone ensures that the fertilized egg can implant and the uterus can adapt to the growing child. At the same time, the increased progesterone level increases the feeling of tiredness and causes pregnant women in the first trimester to have their eyes closed more often during the day. This is generally not a bad thing, but increased daytime sleep can reduce sleep pressure, which can lead to problems falling asleep in the evening.

High estrogen levels can also have a negative impact on sleep. It not only has a stimulating effect on the nervous system, but also influences the body's own melatonin production, which is essential for healthy sleep. This often results in problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

In the last trimester, more prolactin is produced. Prolactin prepares the production of breast milk and, after the birth of the child, specifically ensures that the mother's sleep becomes easier so that she can wake up more easily at night, see the baby and fall asleep more quickly. This makes it easier to fall asleep, but in turn prevents you from having a deep, restful sleep.

The hormonal changes and the growing of the child lead to many other restrictions that keep expectant mothers awake and disrupt their sleep.


Due to the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) known as the pregnancy hormone and the resulting high prolactin level, many pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting. This discomfort can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep.

Increased urge to urinate

The hormonal changes increase kidney activity, the pelvic muscles become more relaxed and ultimately the growing child also puts increasing pressure on the urinary bladder. The urge to urinate increases and often causes problems sleeping through the night.

Uncomfortable sleeping position

Due to the growing belly and the pain that comes with it, pregnant women often find it difficult to adopt a comfortable posture or sleeping position. In addition, lying on your side is usually recommended and many women have to give up their preferred sleeping position.

Back or chest pain & leg cramps

Expectant mothers often experience a magnesium deficiency, which can be followed by unpleasant leg cramps. These as well as general tension and pressure pain in the back or the breasts also keep you awake.

The child's irregular sleep/wake phases

In the last trimester, the baby becomes more and more active and noticeable in the womb. However, it can happen that the child's rest and activity phases often alternate and he becomes particularly active exactly when his mother actually wants to sleep.

Worries and fears

Pregnancy means a great responsibility for the expectant mother. This can lead to many questions, worries or fears about the child and the upcoming birth, which keep you awake in the evening and get in the way of a good night's sleep. This mental component should never be underestimated.

3. Sleep tips for pregnant women

Tip #1: The right sleeping position

A comfortable position is essential for a restful sleep. At the beginning of your pregnancy, you can stick to your preferred sleeping position, which ideally works well with your mattress and pillow. In the second trimester it becomes increasingly difficult to assume a comfortable position and by the last trimester at the latest, pregnant women should switch to the left side of their body. As the abdominal circumference increases, the pressure on the internal organs, the spine and the vena cava (vena cava), which plays an important role in blood circulation and the supply of the child, increases. In the supine position, the vein can be compressed, causing dizziness and circulatory problems and inadequate care for both mother and child.

Schlafmagazin: Schlafposition für Schwangere mit Stillkissen

Tip: When sleeping on the left side, a large nursing pillow can help to support the body in the natural side position and relieve the strain on the spine.

Tip #2: Eat and drink sleep-friendly

During pregnancy, a balanced diet is very important so that the body and the growing child are supplied with all the nutrients they need. Eating food regularly can help keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent food cravings. Before going to bed, we recommend a light, protein-rich meal that is not too heavy on the stomach. This means there is no additional strain on the digestive tract and the body can rest better at night. It is also important to pay attention to fluid intake and to drink enough throughout the day to keep your metabolism active.

Tip: End the day with an easily digestible meal about 2-3 hours before going to bed and start the morning straight away with a large glass of water to compensate for the fluid loss during the night.

Tip #3: Regular exercise

Despite being very tired and needing to rest, pregnant women should make sure to get some exercise during the day. Walks in the fresh air or moderate sporting activities can not only improve your body and well-being, but also your sleep. This helps to keep the circulation going and to get good rest at night.

Tip: Short walks or quiet sports such as yoga, Pilates or swimming are balm for the body and soul and can be easily integrated into everyday life even during pregnancy.

Schlafmagazin: Schwangerschaft Yoga, Meditation

Tip #4: Rest & Relaxation

The many changes can cause a lot of stress in pregnant women, including hormonal reasons - on a physical and mental level. That's why it's even more important that you can really relax in the evening so that your sleep can be restful.

Tip: A warm shower, pleasant scents in the bedroom or a particularly cozy blanket help with relaxation. Meditation, journaling or breathing exercises are suitable for alleviating fears and worries. They clear your head and prevent the carousel of thoughts from starting and preventing you from falling asleep.

Tip #5: Good birth preparation

Birth preparation courses are not only important for preparing for the birth itself, but also a great opportunity to get in touch with other expectant mothers and experienced consultants. Pregnant women learn many useful exercises here that can alleviate the physical stress during pregnancy, during and after birth and also have the chance to talk about questions, worries and fears. This helps, especially in the last trimester, to deal with the strains and tensions, which means you can relax better in the evening and get a restful sleep.

Tip: Go to the birth preparation course together with your partner! Then both are informed and can relieve each other's burdens, so that the expectant mother feels more comfortable and can sleep peacefully at night.

4. Conclusion

  • Hormonal and physical changes often lead to sleep problems in pregnant women
  • In order to sleep better, pregnant women should pay attention to their sleeping position, the right diet, some exercise in everyday life and enough relaxation.
  • Antenatal classes and family support can ease mental stress, improving peace of mind, sleep and well-being.

Greetings and see you soon!

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