Sleeping in the third trimester

Pregnancy | | Louise Broadbridge


With an ever-expanding bump, leg cramps and an undeniable desire to empty your bladder every five minutes, sleeping during pregnancy can seem almost impossible. Gone are the days when you can just turn over without even waking up. It now seems like you need to get up onto all fours just to move your head into a different position.

Although we cannot promise you will ‘sleep like a baby’, there are a few things that you can try to help improve your much needed rest time.

Firstly, it can help to understand the question, “Why can’t I sleep during pregnancy?”

Although pregnancy can be an exciting time, it can also make our minds very busy. You are bringing a new life into the world and there is understandably a lot to think about. Add this to your never-ending list of pregnancy symptoms, such as heartburn, nausea and general aches and pains, and it really is no wonder that counting sheep may not send you off into peaceful slumber.

So, try not to get too frustrated with your lack of sleep. The more anxious you become about your disturbed sleep, the harder it can become to doze off.

Here are our top tips for improving your sleep during the third trimester.

Plan a relaxing bedtime routine

-Having a refreshing shower or relaxing bath before bed can really help to rinse away the stresses of the day. If it isn’t already part of your usual daily routine, pregnancy can be a lovely time to add a simple skincare regime to the beginning and end of your day.

Pregnancy yoga

The gentle stretching and breathing exercises you do during pregnancy yoga are so beneficial for both you and your baby. Yoga is a natural stress reliever and as a result can really help to relieve your body of any tension or aches and pains.

Leave your electronics out of the bedroom

We are all guilty of falling into the scrolling trap as we are presented with one cute baby reel after another, but it is now widely recognised that having our devices on the bedside table can significantly impact the quality of our sleep. Get into the habit of leaving your phone in a different room overnight.

Hypnobirthing can really help with sleep

Hypnobirthing is a wonderful way to prepare your body and mind for labour and birth, but, it can also be the perfect way to start a good night’s sleep. Listening to deep relaxation audios can get you so sleepy and relaxed that you are enjoying a dreamless sleep before the recording has even finished.

Find a comfortable position

Aching hips and a change in preferred sleeping position can really be a hinderance. If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, adjusting to side sleeping can really take some time. Doctors agree sleeping on your side with your legs together and slightly tucked up is the safest position in which to go to sleep. This is because this position provides the best blood flow for both you and your baby.

We can’t really control what positions we put ourselves into during sleep so, don’t worry if you wake up on your back, just settle yourself back into a side sleeping position.

Worried about rolling onto your back during pregnancy?

An army of pillows may really help you to find a comfortable and recommended position. Ask your partner to help by wedging a pillow into the small of your back. This will prevent you from rolling onto your back.

A pillow between your knees can also relieve any aching in your hips – and gets the thumbs up from HiPP mum Nicola, who found it really helpful in the third trimester. If you are worried about rolling over onto your back and have long hair, tie it into a bun at the back of your head. Another thing likely to wake you up if you roll over!

Consider a pregnancy pillow

It could be worth investing in a pregnancy pillow, not only will this aid a more restful night’s sleep, some can even be used as a nursing pillow too. Pregnancy pillows are designed to support the changing shape of your body as your pregnancy progresses. They come in a range of shapes, sizes and materials, so you should be able to find one that suits you. To help navigate the different types of pregnancy pillows, we have a helpful guide, which also includes recommendations from the parents at HiPP.

We recommend taking a look at BellaMoon, who are one of our BabyClub Partners. BellaMoon is a pregnancy, breastfeeding and attachment parenting brand, specialising in pregnancy pillows, nursing and rest systems. Plus, if you join our free BabyClub you can get an exclusive discount to use on BellaMoon’s website!

Enjoy an afternoon nap

Don’t ever feel guilty about shutting your eyes in the middle of the day whilst you are growing a tiny human. Research has shown that afternoon naps during the day are really beneficial for your baby’s growth and can also fill the gaps for mum caused by broken sleep during the night.

HiPP mum Emma says, “With my first I’d come home from work and have a 45 min nap before dinner to help. With my second – no chance, as I had a 3 year old to look after. It helps having a workplace who “get it” and understand the last part is really exhausting and expectations are in line with that.”

Drink lots of water

Being dehydrated can leave us feeling very tired and fatigued but, conversely it can also stop us getting meaningful sleep. Leg cramps can be exacerbated by lack of fluid in our system, which will only add to your struggles. Make sure you have a glass of water by your bed (just where you would normally keep your phone!)

Stay cool

It is not uncommon to feel warmer during pregnancy, as your hormone and blood levels increase. Keep your bedroom aired and keep a window open if possible, especially in the summer months. Although it may add to your laundry, changing your sheets a little more frequently can also help you to start the night feeling lovely and fresh.

“I found it really difficult to get comfortable at night,” says HiPP mum Jo, “especially as I was heavily pregnant during the summer. I think I had half a dozen fans on me to try and keep cool at bedtime.”

So, you now have our top tips for a good night’s sleep. Time to pop yourself into bed and enjoy a few hours of well-earned rest! Remember, pretty soon you will have company during your sleepless nights!