Sleep during pregnancy: Follow these tips

Having a hard time getting sleep during pregnancy? Understand why you're feeling fatigued and strategies for minimizing discomfort and sleep disturbances. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Pregnancy can take a toll on your body. But as much as you need sleep during pregnancy, it doesn't always come easily. Understand how pregnancy affects sleep and what you can do to rest comfortably.

Why does pregnancy cause fatigue?

During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar and your metabolism is running high. This can make you feel exhausted. At the same time, lower blood pressure and increased blood production might team up to sap your energy. If you have another child or children to care for, you might experience even more fatigue.

While fatigue typically lessens after the first trimester, you'll likely feel tired again toward the end of your pregnancy as your baby increases in size.

How does pregnancy affect sleep?

The key to relieving fatigue is rest. However, many pregnancy symptoms can disturb your sleep, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Fetal movement
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Leg cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn

Changes in your respiratory system during pregnancy can also worsen certain conditions, such as sleep apnea.

March 27, 2013 See more In-depth