By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 12/15/2014

During pregnancy, the sleeping habits of women tend to change, due to hormonal and emotional changes. One of the first symptoms of pregnancy is related with sleep, and it’s the fact that during the first trimester many pregnant women feel the need to sleep more.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Does bed rest during pregnancy really help?

When we most need to sleep, and when we would like to be more rested, is usually when we least can sleep. During the third trimester, discomfort takes over the woman, there are many annoyances and it’s hard to find the position to rest.

During this trimester, the urgent need to urinate, the foetal movements, the growth of the belly or the anxiety, due to the proximity of the moment of labour, that tends to provoke nightmares, can cause problems when it comes to sleeping.

Not having a good rest is always harmful, but during pregnancy it can cause some disorders, such as headaches or even a preterm labour. That’s why resting well is vital during this stage.

Tips to improve bed rest

  • Rest whenever you can. There are some difficult months in store for you when the baby is home, so try and rest now.
  • It’s convenient to go to the bathroom before going to sleep, that way it will take a while longer until we need to wake up to urinate again.
  • Sleep on the left side, in order not to press the vena cava and favour the irrigation, oxygenation and nutrient flow to the uterus.
  • You should have dinner at least two hours before you go to sleep, eat healthy and avoid heavy meals, especially in the third trimester, when acidity and indigestion problems increase.
  • You shouldn’t drink coffee at night. However, the consumption of this beverage during pregnancy is quite questioned at any moment during the day.
  • Have a relaxing bath, read or listen to soft music before sleeping, to favour the rest during the most difficult stages of pregnancy.
  • Do exercise in the evenings, in order to favour a deeper sleep.
  • Use cushions and pillows, to find the right position.
  • Disconnect from work an hour before beginning to rest. Stop working and do some activity that relaxes you such as watching television, reading, etc. There are also specific relaxation activities that you can practice during pregnancy.

It’s true that following these indications will be difficult if we have one or more children at home. But we have to try and look for help and comprehension of the people surrounding us, so that we can do exercise or relax.

Have a delightful rest!

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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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