How to get a good night sleep despite third-trimester discomfort?


By Jolandi Becker – MD of Good Night

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

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

  1. The belly is in the way
    It is often very difficult to get comfortable during the third trimester. Try using pillows to prop underneath your belly and between your legs when you’re sleeping. 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 though 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 low-wattage motion sensor lights to guide your way. Bright lights can wake you up too much. 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 15h00 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 walking on the spot or doing a few lunges for a few minutes) to aid digestion.

  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.