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Does Pregnancy Cause Insomnia

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Develop A Healthy Bedtime Routine

How To Deal With Pregnancy Insomnia

Youve heard this one again and again, but a big part of good sleep hygiene is developing a healthy bedtime routine. It helps your body to relax and fall asleep if you do the same thing every night to let your mind and body know whats coming, Mustaleski says. Try to be consistent with your bedtime routine, even when youre away from home.

As part of this, limit screen time an hour or two before bedtheres a lot of evidence to back up how this improves sleep. Blue light exposure suppresses melatonin and can increase cortisol levels before bed, which is the opposite of what we want to happen in the evening, Mitchell says. Instead of turning on the TV or scrolling on your phone, try doing some light reading, an evening meditation or an Epsom salt soak before bed.

Stress Depression Anxiety And Sleep

Stress and mood disorders are important factors that can also contribute to insomnia in females.

There are also differences in how daily life differs for men and women, and these factors may impact sleep, Dr. Martin said. For example, even today, women still have more responsibilities related to childcare and household tasks than men. This is true even if women are working outside the home.

She also explained that females are at increased risk of mood disorders that can affect sleep, such as anxiety and depression.

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the prevalence of depression is

When Does Insomnia During Pregnancy Occur

In general, the further along you get, the worse the insomnia is . Most women find that third trimester insomnia is the worst.

The chart below from a study shows the amount of sleep women had at different check-in points during labor. You can see a steady downward trend.

While many women do start to get insomnia during early pregnancy , one study found that the risk of insomnia was 2.03 times higher for those in the third trimester than those in the first and second trimesters .

At 39 weeks , up to 73.5% of women will have some degree of insomnia , with the most common difficulty reported being maintaining sleep .

The main cause of this is that your body secretes more oxytocin shortly before labor .

SummaryWhile its not always linear, insomnia typically continues to get worse during late pregnancy. Theres more stress, chance of depression, and hormonal changes the nearer you are to labor.

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Other Risk Factors For Insomnia & Pregnancy

Yes, there are pregnancy-specific factors like the ones listed above. But pregnant women are also more likely to experience the general factors associated with insomnia.

It may be helpful to know that a risk factor isnt the same as a cause. Having one or several risk factors doesnt necessarily mean youll experience insomnia. For example, we know that being a woman doesnt cause insomnia. But for many possible reasons, women may be more likely to experience insomnia.

Risk factors for insomnia that apply to pregnancy include:

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Insomnia

Insomnia during pregnancy is common  here

Though the urge to rifle through the fridge for a midnight snack can be overwhelmingly strong during pregnancy, cravings certainly arenât the only thing that can keep you up at night.

âMost commonly, sleep is negatively impacted by general physical discomfort: your belly is growing, youâre experiencing back pain, pelvic pain, nausea, heartburn, and frequent urination through the night,â Osterdahl says. âIn addition to the physiological changes, stress and anxiety â as well as depression â can certainly make you lose sleep as you are anticipating and preparing for the arrival of your new baby.â

Lyon tells Romper that nausea, night sweats, and restless leg syndrome can also keep expecting moms awake more than usual, noting that different symptoms can cause insomnia at different points in pregnancy. âThese symptoms can manifest throughout pregnancy, changing from day to day,â she explains.

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How To Prevent Pregnancy Insomnia

You don’t have to take insomnia lying down! Instead, consider a few of the many ways you can try and beat back sleeplessness and finally summon the sandman:

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Remedies For Insomnia During Pregnancy

Whether youre currently pregnant or expecting, its good to know how to best deal with insomnia during pregnancy.

In most cases, you cant fix it 100%, but you can minimize the effects and sleep better during pregnancy.

Note that if you ever develop severe insomnia pregnancy, get help from a doctor, as its more likely to affect your child.

Research into insomnia treatment for pregnant women is still ongoing, but here are your main options.

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Complications Of Lack Of Sleep

Poor sleep can adversely affect health, and it also has a critical impact on pregnant women, potentially leading to maternal complications such as hypertension and gestational diabetes. What contributes to this relationship?

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea often develop or worsen during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters.

It’s estimated that sleep apnea affects 10% of pregnant people, and this disruption of breathing during sleep can have serious consequences, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pulmonary hypertension

High blood pressure in pregnancy is present when blood pressure is measured to be greater than 140/90 mmHg on repeated occasions after 20 weeks of gestation in people without prior hypertension.

If high blood pressure is accompanied by protein in the urine, preeclampsia may occur. Preeclampsia is associated with potential organ injury in the pregnant person and increases the risk of death for both the pregnant person and child.

A number of findings are associated with preeclampsia. It commonly occurs in the setting of chronic snoring, with about 59% of people with preeclampsia snoring habitually. This may contribute to swelling along the airway, which in turn narrows the passage through which air must flow.

People who gain too much weight or who have a large neck circumference may be at additional risk. These factors contribute to the collapse of the airway and to difficulty breathing during sleep.

What Causes Insomnia During Early Pregnancy


Like many other pregnancy-related symptoms, insomnia can be linked to hormonal changes during this time. A wide range of factors that can keep you awake at night include:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Heartburn, constipation, or morning sickness that happens during pregnancy
  • Aches and pains
  • Leg cramps or restless leg syndrome
  • Disturbing dreams
  • Psychological difficulty getting comfortable with a growing belly
  • Pre-birth anxiety

Other causes of insomnia include stress-related causes. Many women feel anxious about labour and delivery or worry about becoming a new mother. Such thoughts can keep a pregnant woman up at night.

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Is Taking Melatonin During Pregnancy Recommended

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body to naturally regulate sleep-wake cycles, which might seem like an easy fix for patients with insomnia. But its impact on pregnancy has not been clearly studied. The doctor prescribes an occasional and very small dosage of melatonin for pregnant women struggling with insomnia.

Is Insomnia During Pregnancy Dangerous To Your Baby

Insomnia does not just cause short-term effects.

Research keeps piling up showing that insomnia during pregnancy is associated with consequences during and after the birth of your child, which includes

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Higher chance of Caesarean section being needed
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight

Not only are those terrible things for the mother, but some of those are dangerous to the health of the baby.

SummaryEven mild insomnia can have negative effects on your labor and baby, so its important to improve your sleep quality as much as possible.

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Mind Your Dinner And Late

Pay attention to when and what you eat for dinner, taking care to avoid anything that triggers uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn, which can be a big pain point in the third trimester. Stay away from foods with caffeine, processed sugar and a lot of spice, Mitchell suggests. In fact, you may want to cut the caffeine entirely after lunch. While it might seem like theres enough time for it to get out of your system, many people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep if they have caffeine in the afternoon or evening, Mustaleski says.

In terms of when to eat, Mustaleski recommends at least three hours before bed so the body has enough time to digest. If you do get hungry afterward, stick with snacks low in sugar and high in protein. Protein snacks will help keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the night and keep you from waking up hungry in the middle of the night, she explains.

Keep Track Of Your Sleep

Does pregnancy cause insomnia?

One of the most common, and effective, sleep hygiene strategies is to set a regular sleep schedule. This suggestion is particularly true for setting a regular wake-up time, as there is no reason to crawl into bed if you dont feel sleepy.

Maintaining your standard wake time can serve as a hard reset of your biological rhythms. Your body will get used to waking up and falling asleep at a certain time making mornings much easier. Your sleep and wake cycles are controlled by hormones and those particular hormones love a good routine.

Another method of improving sleep is tracking it. We know from weight-loss and smoking-cessation research that simply keeping track of a behaviour leads humans to adjust it.

Start by keeping a record of your sleep using a paper sleep-journal or an app. The point of tracking is to notice patterns so that you can begin to use what you learn to adjust your behaviours to improve sleep.

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How Does Pregnancy Affect Sleep

There are multiple reasons for insomnia during pregnancy, says Leah Hazard, an NHS midwife, author of the memoirHard Pushed: A Midwifes Story, and host of the podcast What The Midwife Said. “Sleep can be challenging in pregnancy for any number of reasons: the increasing discomfort of a growing bump, pelvic girdle pain, heartburn, nausea, increased frequency of urination and leg cramps can all play a part.”

As the pregnancy progresses, it can be hard to get comfortable, especially if the baby starts kicking in the night or is pressing on your bladder you may also need to get up to go to the bathroom more often during the night.

According to a study published in the journal, Sleep Science, many women experience sleep disorders during pregnancy, such as obstructive sleep apnea. This is particularly the case, says midwife Leah Hazard, for those who are already at risk . “Restless legs and leg cramps can also be an issue”, she adds. Mental and emotional issues – anxiety about the pregnancy or parenthood or restless dreams – all are additional causes of poor sleep.

What Causes Insomnia With Pregnancy

If youre struggling with insomnia when pregnant, you might be wondering why. Changes in sleep can be caused by several types of changes during pregnancy:

  • Anatomical
  • Hormonal
  • Psychological

Below are the common causes of insomnia when pregnant. Knowing the cause of your insomnia can help you find the most appropriate treatments.

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Sleep In Pregnancy And Postpartum

Pregnancy is a challenging time for quality sleep. Not only do hormone levels change, but substantial energy is needed to support a growing fetus.

Both the amount and quality of sleep

quite common following birth and has been linked to insomnia, a diagnosis of depression could not explain the studys findings.

The study authors suggest that these findings may be due to hormonal changes and changes in work and sleep schedules. They also note that pregnancy could be a trigger for longer-term chronic sleep problems.

Pharmacological Treatment Of Insomnia In Pregnancy

Insomnia – Causes and Treatment. What to do if I cant sleep?

Four and a half percent of pregnant women admit to the use of sleep medication and 1.9% of natural remedies. This varies by trimester: 0.9% in the first trimester, 0% during the second trimester, and 2.2% during the third trimester. A recent review article was published on the sleep-promoting medications used in pregnancy.

Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, and temazepam enhance the effect of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid at the GABAa receptor and this results in sedative effect. Hypnotic benzodiazepine receptor agonists are nonbenzodiazepines drugs which act on the GABAa receptor. They are the most commonly prescribed drugs for insomnia including in pregnant women.

All these agents can cross the placenta and may cause adverse effects. In their recent review article, Okun et al. summarized seven studies including one prospective cohort study in which 411 pregnant women who reported first trimester use of alprazolam were followed through delivery. These studies showed no significant increased risk for congenital malformations. There have been reports of floppy infant syndrome in babies born to mothers taking diazepam long-term during pregnancy and there is also a concern for neonatal withdrawal symptoms with benzodiazepines.

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Pregnancy Insomnia: How To Get Better Sleep While Pregnant

Pregnancy can be a challenging time, especially if you are not getting enough rest. According to one study, 44% of pregnant people experienced insomnia during the first trimester. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help alleviate pregnancy insomnia and make the experience as stress-free as possible.

08-Apr-22·9 mins read

A Simple Pillow Helps

One of the most basic tips for sleeping better, particularly in late pregnancy, is to put a pillow under your belly while sleeping on your side.

A study found that this reliably reduces backache . While there are specialty wedge pillows for this purpose, even a standard pillow was found to be quite effective.

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What Causes Postpartum Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is believed to affect 10-30% of adults. It is defined as persistent difficulty with sleep onset, maintenance, consolidation, or quality. Insomnia occurs despite enough time allotted for sleep each night or a comfortable sleep area, and it leads to excessive daytime sleepiness and other impairments when the person is awake.

If these symptoms occur at least three times per week and persist for at least three months, a person may receive a diagnosis of chronic insomnia. The condition is known as short-term insomnia if less than 3 months duration.

Sleep disruption, inadequate sleep, and insomnia symptoms are all common during pregnancy. Most mothers also face new sleep challenges after giving birth. Newborns wake up frequently and require feedings throughout the day and night. These demands often force mothers to adjust their sleep schedules and, in many cases, sleep less at night.

Additionally, women undergo hormonal changes during the postpartum period. These include a decrease in the production of progesterone, a female sex hormone with sleep-inducing properties, and changes in levels of melatonin, which the body produces in the evening to promote sleepiness and relaxation. These adjustments can affect the womans circadian rhythm, which regulates not only sleep but also mood, appetite, and other bodily functions.

What Causes Insomnia During Pregnancy

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  • Discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Anxiety
  • Try new sleeping positions.
  • Prepare yourself for bedtime by taking a warm bath or receiving a nice massage.
  • Set up your room for a comfortable sleep setting. Try changing your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and playing some relaxing or natural sounds that can help make you sleepy.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as the ones you may have learned in a childbirth class.
  • If you still cannot fall asleep, you may consider getting up. You can try reading a book, eating a small snack, or drinking some warm milk.
  • Exercise regularly during the day.
  • If you have the opportunity to sleep during the day, you should take it. However, long naps may interfere with your sleeping schedule at night.

Talk to your health care provider if insomnia continues. Your health care provider may prescribe medication if necessary.

Want to Know More?

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Tips For Managing Insomnia During Pregnancy

Tried and true techniques for more restful sleep can be helpful when youâre pregnant and experiencing insomnia. Osterdahl recommends first trying a relaxing bedtime routine that includes avoiding blue light from screens, taking a warm bath, drinking caffeine-free tea, reading a book, or listening to calm music. He also suggests limiting caffeine intake, engaging in light exercise, and avoiding long daytime naps.

âIf you simply canât get comfortable, try changing sleep positions,â Osterdahl says. âFor optimal comfort and blood circulation, we recommend sleeping on your side with your knees bent. If youâre experiencing back pain, you can place a pillow between your legs to alleviate some pressure. There are multiple pregnancy pillows designed to help in achieving a comfortable sleeping position.â

Depending on what symptoms are causing your insomnia, you may need to try a few different strategies to find a solution that works for you. âSome causal factors can be treated independently, and others are an unavoidable part of pregnancy reality, like more frequent trips to the bathroom as the bladder is squeezed by a growing fetus,â Lyon explains. For example, she notes that deep tissue massage and hydration may help restless leg syndrome while certain supplements or prescriptions from your provider can alleviate nausea or night sweats.


How Bad Is My Pregnancy Insomnia

If you are having trouble sleeping while pregnant, you can take comfort in the fact that you arent alone.

An online survey of 2,427 women found that, perhaps no surprise to you, pregnancy can mean significant sleep disruption. Researchers found that 76 percent of pregnant women surveyed had poor sleep quality, regardless of how far along their pregnancy was. That is nearly twenty-five points higher than women overall.

The survey found

  • it took about 50 minutes on average to fall asleep, compared to the 15-20 minutes that is considered normal

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