Insomnia During Pregnancy: Snooze or Lose!

Woman with Insomnia during pregnancy

You may be losing sleep while you are pregnant for a variety of reasons.  Whatever the reason may be, it is important to understand that insomnia is not harmful to your baby. Insomnia during pregnancy is normal and affects approximately 78% of pregnant women.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep.

Inadequate sleep may be the result of one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Difficulty returning to sleep
  • Un-refreshing sleep

What causes insomnia during pregnancy?

  • Discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen
  • Back pains
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Anxiety
  • Anticipating the arrival of your baby
  • Frequent and vivid dreams
  • Hormonal changes

How can I cope with insomnia during pregnancy?

  • Try new sleeping positions
  • Prepare yourself for bedtime by taking a warm bath or receiving a nice massage
  • Set up your room for a comfortable sleep setting by changing your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and playing some relaxing or natural sounds that can help make you sleepy
  • Try relaxation techniques such as the ones you have learned in your childbirth class
  • If you still cannot fall asleep you should get up; you might read a book, watch TV, eat a small snack or fix some warm milk
  • Exercising during the day
  • If you have the opportunity to sleep during the day you should take it!

Talk to your health care provider if insomnia continues to increase.  Your health care provider may prescribe some sedatives if necessary.


Last Updated: 03/2014

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 7.

National Sleep Foundation,