Mother and Baby

How to handle sleep issues in your second trimester of pregnancy

Deal with common pregnancy sleep problems to enjoy a better night’s kip in your second trimester

The great news about sleep in your second trimester is that you shouldn’t be getting up to go to the toilet as much as in your first three months. Your uterus has now grown up and past your bladder, so it’s not putting the same pressure on it, allowing you more hours of uninterrupted sleep.

That said, there are some new obstacles to deal with at this middle stage, but some simple changes can make for more comfortable snoozing.

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1) Adjust your sleep position

From around 16 weeks, try to sleep on your side rather than your back. This stops your bump pressing on your blood vessels, which can make you feel faint and nauseous.

‘I’d recommend lying on your left side because it’s thought to let blood flow to your organs and baby in the best way,’ says midwife Colette Boyd-Terry, who works for private antenatal care service My Own Midwife.
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2) Combat pelvic pain

If you’re struggling with pelvic pain, use a pregnancy pillow at night. It sits under your bump and between your legs to reduce some of the pressure and support your body.

‘When you’re turning over in bed, keep your knees together to lessen the strain on your joints,’ says Colette.

If you’re struggling with pelvic pain, use a pregnancy pillow at night

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3) Practise mindfulness 

It’s perfectly normal if your mind’s spinning with baby and birth thoughts (or even weird dreams) as your pregnancy goes on. If these are disturbing your sleep, work out what helps you unwind. ‘Exercising during the day can set you up for a restful night,’ says Colette.

Reading for just a few minutes is also great for relaxation, according to UK research, so dig out that battered copy of Great Expectations before bed.
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4) Get your temperature right

Some mums-to-be find they’re too warm at night, while others struggle with feeling cold. Whatever camp you fall into, adjust your room and bed covers to suit. This could mean opening a window and sleeping under just a sheet, or doubling up on duvets and wearing an extra layer of PJs.
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5) Deal with indigestion

An increase in the pregnancy hormone progesterone has a relaxing effect on the opening to your gut, which can lead to uncomfortable indigestion at night.

‘Avoid eating too close to bedtime to give your food time to digest,’ says Colette. ‘Also prop your upper body up with a pillow in bed to help gravity keep stomach acids down.’
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6) Banish leg cramp

Painful leg cramps tend to strike in the second and third trimester, and theories about why range from a shortage of magnesium to fatigue. Remedy the discomfort by straightening your leg and flexing your ankle and toes upwards, but not pointing your toes, a few times.

Also try stretching exercises before bed: stand a large step away from a wall with your palms flat on it, then lean forward and keep your heels on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times. A magnesium spray you massage into skin can help, too – just check the one you buy is suitable in pregnancy.



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