I’m Pregnant and Exhausted, But I Still Can’t Sleep! What Do I Do?

Posted by | September 18, 2019 | Stress, Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

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Pregnancy is a time of many changes in a woman’s life. Her outward appearance changes as her body grows to support her developing baby, while inside her body is also undergoing many changes that can’t necessarily be seen by looking at her. One of those changes a pregnant woman faces is increased tiredness and even fatigue. To make it worse, however, this problem is compounded by the fact that sleep is not always as easy or as natural as it once was. At some point, you may be saying to yourself or anyone who will listen, “I’m pregnant and exhausted, but I still can’t sleep!”

How Can Pregnant Women Sleep Better and Stay More Energized?

The emotional changes your body endures during the first trimester often account for much of the fatigue you might be feeling. The energy it takes to create a life-sustaining placenta is nothing short of hard work, and while you might not yet be showing, you might certainly be feeling pregnant. The second semester often gives you a reprieve from the exhaustion, but it will likely return again in the third trimester as the physical strain of carrying your baby can increase exhaustion. It is also compounded by the fact that all of those good things you perhaps used to do for your body – like exercise – are more challenging now. The larger your abdomen becomes, the more difficult it can also be to find a comfortable resting position at night.

  • Exercise – Even though exercise requires energy, it can also help keep your body strong enough to withstand the rigors of pregnancy and it actually helps to boost your energy levels in the long-run. Getting in those brisk walks or gentle aerobics also release those positive endorphins that help to improve your overall mood and ability to rest at the end of the day. Make sure you check with your obstetrician about a healthy exercise plan for you during pregnancy, especially if you were not already practicing one before now.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet – Protein and complex carbohydrates will help your baby, but also help you maintain energy throughout the day (which means you won’t be staring at the clock in the middle of the night because you had to nap during the afternoon). Eat light meals regularly throughout the day, even moving to 6 meals each day of smaller servings spread out across time. This will help to keep your blood sugar at a safe level and reduce the risk of you feeling that “sugar crash”.
  • Invest in Support Pillows – During the last trimester sleep loss is often attributed to a woman simply not feeling comfortable during the night. Support pillows designed for these women just like you can give the support that is needed to your back and legs. If nothing else, try grabbing an extra pillow and as you lie down on your side, place the pillow between your knees.
  • Plan Your Beverage Consumption – First off, avoid caffeine whenever possible as it can negatively affect your sleeping comfort and ability to get a good night’s rest. However, you also need to manage your drinks throughout the day to minimize too many trips to the bathroom as soon as you try to fall asleep (and stay asleep) at night. Make sure that you get your needed hydration throughout the day and you taper it off as you approach your bedtime. Nothing can seem worse than finally being able to rest, only to be awakened because you drank three glasses of water before turning out the light.

If your exhaustion continues or causes severe problems during the day such as an inability to complete your work or interference in safe operations of motor vehicles, be sure to talk with your obstetrician.

Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”