Pregnancy and baby

Tiredness in pregnancy

How can I sleep comfortably with my bump?

Media last reviewed: 12/04/2012

Next review due: 12/04/2014

Is it normal to feel tired in pregnancy?

It's common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.

Hormonal changes at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous and emotional. The only answer is to try to rest as much as possible. Make time to sit with your feet up during the day, and accept any offers of help from colleagues and family. Being tired and run down can make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health – eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and sleep.

Later on in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you are carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest. As your bump gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep. You might find it uncomfortable lying down or, just when you get comfortable, you have to get up to go to the loo.

Feeling tired won't harm you or your baby, but it can make life feel more difficult, especially in the early days before you've told people about your pregnancy.

Strange dreams during pregnancy

Some women have strange dreams or nightmares about the baby and about labour and birth. This is normal. Talking about them to your partner or midwife can help you. Remember, just because you dream something, it doesn't mean it's going to happen. Relaxation and breathing techniques may be helpful in reducing any anxiety you might be feeling.

Bump-friendly sleep positions 

Sleep however you feel comfortable. Lying on your back after around 16 weeks can be uncomfortable, and later on can also mean that your womb presses on one of the main blood vessels. This can make you feel faint.

Sleeping on your side might be more comfortable. You can try supporting your bump with pillows, and put a pillow between your knees. Towards the end of pregnancy, as your bump becomes heavy, you might find it more comfortable to prop yourself up with pillows so that you're almost in a sitting position. Sleeping propped up like this can sometimes help with pregnancy heartburn too.

Insomnia remedies in pregnancy

Try not to let it bother you if you can't sleep, and don't worry that it will harm your baby – it won't. If you can, nap during the day, and get some early nights during the week. Avoid tea, coffee or cola drinks in the evening as the caffeine can make it harder to go to sleep.

Try to relax before bedtime so that you're not too wide awake. Relaxation techniques may also help. Your antenatal classes may teach relaxation techniques, or you could borrow a relaxation tape, CD or DVD from your library.

You could join an antenatal yoga class or pilates class. Make sure the instructor knows that you are pregnant. Exercise can help you to feel less tired, so even if you're feeling tired during the day, try to get some activity, such as a walk at lunchtime or going swimming. If the lack of sleep is bothering you, talk to your partner, a friend, doctor or midwife.

You can find out more about preventing insomnia, including daytime habits such as exercising and bedtime habits such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol and smoking.

Medical reasons for insomnia in pregnancy

Occasionally, sleeplessness – when accompanied by other symptoms – can be a sign of depression. If you have any of the other symptoms of depression, such as feeling hopeless and losing interest in the things you used to enjoy, speak to your doctor or midwife. There is treatment that can help. Find out more about mental health problems in pregnancy.

Healthtalkonline has videos and written articles of women talking about their symptoms and feelings in the early weeks of pregnancy, including tiredness.

 

Page last reviewed: 10/04/2013

Next review due: 10/04/2015

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