Sleepless nights are often associated with the newborn baby phase, but the reality is that often a mommy lacks proper sleep even before baby has arrived. Some people laughingly say that the uncomfortable third trimester prepares parents for the lack of sleep that they’ll experience once baby arrives.

What are the reasons for not sleeping during pregnancy and what can be done to help?

1. Your belly is in the way

It is often very difficult to get comfortable at night when you’re pregnant, especially during the third trimester. Try using pillows to prop underneath your belly and between your legs when you’re sleeping to alleviate some of the pressure caused by the extra weight of your belly. If it does become more than just discomfort, remember to mention this to your doctor at your next check-up.

2. You need to pee all the time

There is not much you can do about this. However, you can try a few methods to help you fall asleep quicker after going to the bathroom such as not putting on a bright light, and rather have a small torch or use low-wattage motion sensor lights to guide your way. Bright lights can wake you up too much. And stop checking your social media accounts while on the loo!

3. Too many or late-afternoon naps

There’s not much you can do about this either. If you’re lucky enough to have naps, enjoy them but do try to avoid those early evening naps when you arrive home just after work. Try to keep naps to before 3pm and aim to keep them short (20 min).

4. Heartburn

Try to avoid eating spicy food later during the day and talk to your doctor or pharmacist about safe medication to use. It’s also important to eat smaller meals more frequently and enjoy moderate movement after meal times (like light walking or doing a few stretches) to aid digestion.

“It’s important to keep to a specific bedtime and include a relaxing bath and uplifting book as part of your bedtime routine.”

5. You can’t stop worrying

It’s bound to happen, you are having a baby after all! The endless to-do lists, the stress about labour or birth options and plans, as well as the actual role of mother can keep you up at night. It’s important to keep to a specific bedtime and include a relaxing bath and uplifting book as part of your bedtime routine.

6. Too much caffeine

Try to cut out caffeine completely, as even a small amount can keep your baby up at night. Keep in mind that some foods also have hidden caffeine, such as chocolate.

7. Endless screen time

Limit the amount of screen time you are exposed to, especially just before bedtime. Screens have what we call blue light and can inhibit the production of melatonin.

Also read:

Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep
5 steps to good sleep hygiene

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As BabyYumYum’s exclusive sleep experts, Good Night specialises in all things sleep when it comes to babies and young children. Their sleep consultants are trained professionals who undergo strict screening and education processes. They believe in creating a start-to-finish solution for families. Good Night is associated with international associations and accredited by the South African Sleep Association.