Can't Sleep Pregnant

by Jenny

Can’t Sleep Pregnant? Let’s face it, the last trimester just gets tougher and tougher as your body changes into a whale and all muscles give up their ability to communicate with your brain! I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and a good nights sleep seems like a long distant memory. The thought that in a few more weeks time I will be able to simply roll over and change position, without bouncing my body like a fish trapped on a trampoline, grasping for anything I can possibly gain any leverage upon. Wow! And, remembrance of times when I could simply swing my legs out of bed, walkthrough and stick on a pair of socks before my slippers. I’m in awe that life was that simple!

So. if you’re pregnant and can’t sleep we want to hear your ideas, solutions, concerns and questions. Help us to help others and we will keep on adding to this article with your notes of help, concern and input.

Cant sleep pregnant, pregnant lady awake and struggling to sleep

From pregnancy worries to the discomfort of having a kicking bowling ball inside you. To worrying that you’re not being kicked enough. Really, where does the list end? Well, let’s start with that list of worries. Pregnancy worries that seem to go into overdrive at night, when we can’t so easily pick up the phone to our midwives…

Pregnancy Worries

Let’s start with those pregnancy worries, for those in the third-trimester pregnancy worries begin to increase as your birth date approaches. Whether you are worrying about:

  • Worried about fetal movement
  • Twinges and feelings – wondering how to know if you having contractions
  • Discomfort Sleeping
  • Concerned with “will I cope when the baby arrives”
  • Worrying about how to continue with daily life, chores and demands whilst debilitated with body aches, breathlessness, inability to move properly balance issues…

The list goes on, and on… And we all have different struggles when pregnant. Tell us your struggles here. We want to share experiences and help each other after all. And here goes:

Self Help and Psychological Wellbeing During Pregnancy

There are hundreds of sleep, relaxation and mindfulness apps available to us. Whilst these may not be specifically designed for us pregnant girlies, they are still super helpful and beneficial at switching off our minds and helping us to relax at night, or whenever we need. This is a super list of app options.

If things are getting too far for you are in need of some self-help and psychological wellbeing tools during pregnancy. Have a look at our mental health issues blog here with self-help techniques. Now for all those physical worries and changes that impact so many of us when heavily pregnant:

When To Worry About Fetal Movement

So, when should we worry about fetal movement. Well, the answer to that is as soon as you feel anxious. Don’t ignore or dismiss your feelings. In this area, it is always best to be safe and soothed that your baby is ok. Only a mother knows the patterns, kicks and responses of their baby in pregnancy. And we all have the fear of not feeling our babies move normally.

Woman worried about reduced fetal movements, lying on her left side feeling for babies movements

This concern has raised with me in both of my pregnancies. The first was fixed by the following. But, my second pregnancy has been a little more complicated.

So, what to do… Midwives will tell you to lie down in a quiet room on your left side for 30 mins to an hour with your hand on your stomach and relax. Simply be in the moment and listen to your body and wait to feel your baby. 9 times out of 10 you will get that reassuring kick. But, this just isn’t practical all of the time! I have been on my own for weeks with a wired 3-year-old, horses, dogs, chickens, cats, a business to run and a list of endless chores. All combined with reduced childcare due to the bloody coronavirus! Not possible! So:

Checking Your Babies Movements When You Have A Toddler

  • Get the toddler occupied – iPad, ice cream, toys, bath… whatever you can to stop them climbing on you shouting!
  • Sit down. And take three deep breaths or as many as you need.
  • Forget about searching for that kick for a minute. Simply do what you can to calm your mind.
  • Talk to yourself. Reassure yourself that you will take action, once you have had time to sit, relax and feel.
  • Once I finally manage to calm my mind, I generally need 5 to 10 mins of breathing, calming myself, feeling my stomach for where the baby is positioned and waiting.
  • Once you get that first kick or movement, your body and mind relax and more will come.

But, and this is a big but… If you still have concerns, call your maternity assessment unit immediately and go and get checked. Tell them that you have, or have not felt movement. What you have done to take time to feel this and that movement is not feeling right. I have had confusing conversations with myself a million times, trying to decide if I’m being paranoid or is the reduced movement an issue. At 36 weeks, the doctors are now considering inducing me at 37 weeks as a result. Listen to your paranoia. Your baby’s safety is paramount. No concern is a silly concern.

Knowing The Early Signs Of Labour

We all know about “the show” and waters breaking, but these don’t always appear for all of us as we go into labour. For some, they come later. So, what does labour feel like? Well at first it’s just a mild feeling. Enough to keep you awake, but not in major discomfort. Similar to period pains in your lower abdomen. Or for some, mild lower backache. But we all feel these kinds of pains in the run-up to the final weeks. But, don’t worry, rest assured you will know when you are in actual labour. First off, the pains will feel similar to twinges you have felt on the run-up. But unlike those, these ones don’t stop and begin to increase in intensity.

woman sitting in a wamr bath being comforted by her partner whilst in the early stages of labour

So, all we can do when we feel these and continue on as normal. Be that going to bed, making dinner, working, resting on the couch. You will know soon enough if you are in labour.

Fear of Labour and Giving Birth

We have all heard a million horror stories. Why do people love telling us the bad stuff so much? If I had a pound for every woman that told me how horrific labour and childbirth was. Or, how my life would be over after I had a baby. Or that I was kidding myself if I thought I could no longer compete with my horses with a baby or continue my life as before. Yes life changes, but for the better. Having a baby doesn’t mean a stop to your identity or what you enjoy! It just adds another dimension to it.

And labour and giving birth were the most incredible experiences of my life! So embrace it, you are about to meet your baby! Forget your fears and just roll with it. Your body will take over and your dedicated midwife will care for your every need to keep you comfortable. Just try and keep calm and ask if you need more pain relief. Honestly, once you are in your labour suite with your midwife, they will take care of all. Labour suite midwives are absolute gods! Your body will do the rest for you. If you have any questions or positive comments to add, please let us know.

Pregnant and Uncomfortable

Finally, lets discuss how to get your beautiful beach ball body comfortable…

So, we have to sleep on our sides so as not to reduce blood flow to the baby (which can happen if we sleep on our backs). But this poses it’s own issues. From pressure points on your belly and ribs as the babies weight leans on the side of your bump. To back pain in pregnancy whilst sleeping (or all the time!). To difficuilty shifting from one side to the other during the night.

In my second pregnancy, I bought a cheap pregnancy wedge. These are small wedge shape cushions to place under your belly or back for support. The difference this made to me was so incredible, I ended up buying another. I now sleep with one under my bump and the other supporting my back and hips whilst I sleep at night. I sleep with these pregnancy wedges, along with around 100 good supporting pillows, propping me up and under my legs.

Pregnancy wedges to help you sleep pregnant at night

Still Can’t Get Comfortable Sleeping Pregnant?

If you still can’t get comfortable, I rearrange my million pillows, put my wedges behind my back, a big pillow under my legs at my buttocks and sleep sitting up.

Worrying About How To Continue With Daily Life

This is probably my greatest challenge throughout pregnancy. And if it is a struggle for you… I feel your pain! 🙁 There are no answers or secrets to solving such issues. You just have to find the best way possible to cope and get through your struggles as you can. And know, that this is just short term.

I struggled with prenatal depression. Had a very absent husband, due to him being in the navy and living at the other end of the country, and at sea for long periods of time. I had 4 spritely horses to muck out and manage daily… whilst trying to keep them exercised. Multiple dogs to walk. Cats to feed and litter trays to clean. Chickens to muck out and manage… oh and on my second pregnancy, an epic farm move with all of the above and a toddler. All whilst running a hospitality business, and trying to keep it afloat through coronavirus. It was stressful. It was exhausting… energy-sapping. I have never felt so exhausted and broken in my whole life!

A woman pregnant and struggling to cope with daily life and prenatal depression

But, no matter how much I struggled, no matter how much I cried, I did survive and so will you. If you can’t get the support you need to help you through, just know that you are not alone. Share you’re experienced with us and make time for some self-help relaxation.

Will I Cope When The Baby Arrives

YES! You have no idea how well you will cope! Yes, some of us experience baby blues (but you will get through this!). But, most of us do just fine. Firstly, rest assured that at first, your baby will spend so much time sleeping, that you will have plenty of space to recuperate and get back on your feet. Secondly, your hormones and motherly instincts will automatically kick in. You will find yourself unable to get enough of your baby and will sit for hours holding them, even when you don’t need to be. Enjoy every minute of it! Life changes, it adapts and so will you. And now you have a baby, just remember that every challenge you face is just a phase. Things will continually change and adapt as your baby goes from a newborn to a baby, to a toddler. But every difficulty you experience is just a phase! Remember, this too shall pass. And more quickly than you can imagine. You will survive every challenge and will have a million more good points to outweigh the struggles! Talk to us if you are struggling and need help or advice. And if you need a little more support, see our self help anti-anxiety guide.

A mother kissing her sleeping new born baby girl