How to get a good, safe night’s sleep when you’re pregnant

Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re expecting can be tricky. Try these techniques to get comfy.

First it might be morning sickness.

Then it might be back ache, cramps or a growing belly that make it challenging to find the perfect sleeping position.

And as pregnancy progresses, needing to get up at night to go to the toilet more often also affects sleep.

Getting enough rest when you’re pregnant is not always easy, but it’s important for the health of both mum and baby.

A University of California San Francisco study found women who sleep less than six hours a night can have longer labours and may be 4.5 times more likely to have a caesarean delivery.

“This serves as an important reminder to healthcare providers to discuss the importance of adequate sleep with expectant mothers,” notes researcher Kathryn Lee.

“Similar to advice that women should ‘eat for two’ when pregnant, healthcare providers should consider recommending that women also sleep for two.”

Sleep in pregnancy – what can help?

Position, position, position

This year, a New Zealand study found that during the last trimester, pregnant women should sleep on their side to more than halve their risk of stillbirth.

Mums-to-be who sleep on their back from 28 weeks of pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth by 2.6 times, according to the research.

“Stillbirth is a tragedy for families. This study shows conclusively that something as simple as going to sleep on your side can reduce the risk,” says researcher and midwife Robin Cronin.

Drink less before bedtime

While it’s important to drink plenty of fluids during the day, cutting down before bedtime can help reduce trips to the toilet at night.

Watch what you eat

Heartburn can be an unwelcome part of pregnancy and keep you awake at night.

Avoid too many spicy foods, fried foods and acidic foods, like tomatoes and tomato-based foods, citrus, vinegar and coffee.

Use a pillow to increase your comfort

Sleep on your side, bend your knees and place a pillow between them.

You can also put a pillow under your belly for extra support if needed.

If you are experiencing heartburn, sleeping with your head a little higher may help.

Add an extra pillow under your head.

Sneak in a nanna nap

As pregnancy progresses, it’s normal for women to find that the amount of refreshing deep sleep they get falls.

So having a nap for an hour or two most days is important to top up energy levels.

Written by Sarah Marinos.