7 Important Sleeping Tips During The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

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As you enter the third trimester, you may notice that certain discomforts have heightened. You may have to make various changes in different activities, including sleep. Knowing some effective sleeping tips during the third trimester of pregnancy can help you get a sound sleep.

Difficulty in walking, standing up or sitting down, and sleeping is normal towards the end of pregnancy due to the growing size of your belly. While other problems can be taken care of with some support, you may not sleep comfortably despite the continuous change of positions. This can be due to other additional reasons besides the big stomach.

Read on to know more about it, including the importance of sleep position, common interferences, and tips to sleep comfortably during the third trimester.

Understanding Best Sleeping Positions During Third Trimester

It is believed that throughout your pregnancy, sleeping on your left side is probably the best. It allows the perfect passage of blood and nutrients to your baby (1). At the same time, this position also keeps you from feeling all the undesirable symptoms of pregnancy (2).

  • Sleeping on your back tends to cause nausea and morning sickness (3), and also affects the supply of blood and nutrients to your baby.
  • While sleeping on your front… well, that’s not exactly going to be possible now, is it (2)!

If you are not comfortable sleeping on your left side, it’s always better to start the habit while you are trying to conceive so as to avoid the uneasiness later.

Common Sleep Disturbances

Obviously, the most common sleep issue concern during the third trimester is your baby bump, which is probably too big to allow you to sleep comfortably. Plus, just like your early pregnancy days, you will now need to rush to the loo several times, since your growing baby’s putting some pressure on your bladder, decreasing its capacity (4).

Apart from these issues, other “nightly” niggles that may get in the way of good sleep during the third trimester includes (5):

  • Leg cramps
  • Vivid dreams
  • Snoring
  • Backache
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Itching
  • Heartburn
  • Movements of your baby

[ Read: Clothes To Wear During Pregnancy ]

Important Sleeping Tips During Third Trimester

While the above-mentioned symptoms are temporary and will nag you only for the last trimester of your pregnancy, you can still tackle most of them by yourself and get a good night’s sleep. Follow these simple tips to avoid bad sleeping positions during pregnancy third trimester (5) (6) (7).

  1. Use pillows and cushions to get into a comfortable position during sleep. If possible, invest in a curved pregnancy pillow that is available in leading maternity stores.
  2. Try sleeping on your left side and wedging pillows between your legs and behind your back for some extra support.
  3. Slip into loose, comfortable nightwear and avoid tight clothing. Stick to breathable cotton fabrics that get you all comfortable and in the ‘feeling’ of sleep.
  4. Lying down on the bed may not exactly be comfortable during the third trimester. If you find yourself cozier on a comfy chair or a sofa, go ahead and doze off.
  5. Consume light food at dinner. Avoid spicy foods since they tend to cause heartburn that usually aggravates during the night.
  6. Try some light exercise, under the supervision of a trainer of course. This will relax you and give your body a good supply of oxygen, which will help you sleep better.
  7. About 15 minutes before getting into bed, try and get away from all distractions and allow your mind to relax. Stick to positive thoughts and you’ll find it easier to doze off.
  8. Sleeping on the left side can cause pressure pains over time and unbearable. Try to alternate between the left and the right side.

[ Read: Pregnancy Pillow ]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does sleeping on the right side harm the baby?

The National Institute of Health states that sleeping on the right side could compress the central artery that carries blood to the upper and lower abdomen and the inferior vena cava (the vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower parts of the body to the heart). This obstruction might cause preeclampsia and may impact the development of a fetus (8).

2. Can I hurt my baby by sleeping on my stomach?

Lying on the stomach when pregnant might not hurt your baby, but it could be pretty uncomfortable for you. The growing uterus might make this position inconvenient as the pregnancy progresses (9).

3. Why does it hurt to turn over in bed while pregnant?

Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) could cause pain when you turn over. These pains are caused by the stiffening of the pelvic joints and are not harmful to a baby (10).

4. How long can I lay on my back in the third trimester?

There’s no specific time limit to how long a pregnant woman can lay on her back during the third trimester. It is always recommended to listen to the signs of your body. If you feel restless while lying on the back, it is recommended to switch positions (11).

Finding the right sleeping position is a challenging task during the last trimester due to the common physiological changes in the body and the growing uterus. However, a night of good sleep cannot be compromised. Hence we hope that our sleeping tips during the third trimester of pregnancy will assist you in a well-rested night. Refer to our tips and try them to know which one suits you the most. It may also help identify the cause of your restlessness and report the issue to a doctor for good sleep.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Sleep and Pregnancy.
    https://familydoctor.org/getting-enough-sleep-pregnancy/
  2. Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/sleeping-positions-while-pregnant/
  3. Deborah Rubin Kim and Eileen Wang; (2014); Prevention of supine hypotensive syndrome in pregnant women treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4057965/
  4. 8 third trimester pains and how to deal with them.
    https://utswmed.org/medblog/third-trimester-discomfort/
  5. Sleeping during your third trimester.
    https://www.sleepfoundation.org/pregnancy/sleeping-during-3rd-trimester
  6. Sleep during pregnancy.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/sleep-during-pregnancy
  7. Pregnancy Insomnia: Snooze Or Lose!
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/insomnia-during-pregnancy/
  8. Science Update: Sleeping position during early and mid pregnancy does not affect risk of complications NIH-funded study suggests.
    https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/news/092019-pregnancy-sleep-position
  9. Sleep positions during pregnancy.
    https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy-85-P01238
  10. Pelvic pain in pregnancy.
    https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/pelvic-pain/
  11. Exactly how bad is it to sleep on your back when you’re pregnant?
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/exactly-how-bad-is-it-to-sleep-on-your-back-when-youre-pregnant/

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Dr. Michael Tahery

(MD)
Dr. Michael Tahery is an American board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. He graduated in ob/gyn from the University of New York and Advanced Pelvic Surgery and Urogynecology from The Mayo Clinic.    Dr. Tahery is a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, American Urogynecology Society, and American Urology Association. Before... more

shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more

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