How to Deal With Insomnia During Pregnancy

Insomnia in pregnancy is quite common, in fact almost three quarters of pregnant women suffer with insomnia at some stage during their pregnancy.

There are several reason for this and we’ll have a look at the causes in turn and some suggestions on how to overcome them.


— This can be a cause of insomnia in early pregnancy. Commonly called ‘morning sickness’, nausea can occur any time of the day and night. Eating regular meals can help as can propping yourself up on a low pillow if the nausea happens when you lay down.

Ginger is a good natural cure for nausea, if it persists you may need something a bit stronger from your health care provider.

Leg cramps

— Few things are worse than being jerked awake in the middle of the night with a severe cramp in the leg muscles! What you need is a magnesium supplement. If you live in a hot climate, a salt (sodium) deficiency could also cause leg cramps, although this is rare.

Hormone imbalances

— Our hormones willgo haywire during pregnant, it’s a given. The body is preparing itself to give birth and is undergoing some big changes. Some women will notice nothing at all, others will go through all sorts of emotional upheaval including anxiety and insomnia. What’s the best way to deal with these swings?

The best thing to do is to treat the anxiety. Deep breathing, relaxation techniques and meditation can all help here. The best thing I’ve found is Emotiomal Freedom Technique or EFT which balances the body’s energy.


— This is especially common during the last stages of pregnancy. You may have backache or your abdomen gets in the way no matter what you do. The best sleeping position for you is to lay on your side, especially your left side. This enables the blood flow and supply of nutrients to the placenta. Place a small pillow under your abdomen for support and another between your legs. Try not to sleep on your back as this can cause backache and circulation problems.

The need to go to the bathroom can be a nuisance too during the last trimester. Keep a torch handy so you don’t have to turn the light on. This can interrupt your sleeping pattern even more.

Difficulty breathing

— This is one of the lesser known causes of insomnia in pregnancy, but can be quite distressing. It’s caused by the enlarged uterus pressing against the diaphragm. Just knowing that it’s quite normal and nothing to worry about can ease your mind. You may find that curling up during sleep worsens your breathing, so try to sleep stretched out.

Restless legs

— Restless legs is a disease in it’s own right, however secondary restless legs can occur during pregnancy only to disappear after the birth. If you find you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs when laying in bed, read our page on restless-legs as the remedy given there is very safe & effective.

These are some of the causes of insomnia in pregnancy that we can do something about. There are others such as major discomfort or fetal movement which are out of our control. Fortunately these mainly happen in the last few weeks of pregnancy so they won’t last too long.

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