It is wonderful to be expecting a baby, and every woman that goes through the process would want it to be as painless as possible. Unfortunately, it can be a rough ride sometimes, especially when it is the first pregnancy – although subsequent pregnancies can have their own challenges to overcome.

The changes in hormone levels as the pregnancy continues bring along some physical discomforts, and these aches and pains can affect the quality of sleep. Every trimester in the pregnancy period brings along unique challenges in sleeping habits and quality. In fact, a 2016 study revealed that the problem is very common – a whole 78 percent of women go through problems with sleeping at some point in the pregnancy, even though many of them thought the problems will come when they are new parents.

So with all this information, what are the challenges to expect and some tips to deal with them? Read on for more.

The frequent need to visit the bathroom

This problem usually occurs in the first and third trimesters, and it is all thanks to the HCG pregnancy hormone that is at high levels during these stages. In addition, during the first trimester in particular, the kidneys need to filter out more blood amounts than usual – up to 50 percent more – and that can only mean only one thing: more urine.

In the third trimester, the uterus has grown and stretched to a considerable size, but it is then pressing down on the bladder, so that means you make more trips to the bathroom.

To combat this issue, it is good to drink lots of fluids throughout your day, but reduce the intake when your bedtime approaches. In the occasion that you need to go for a bathroom break, you can leave a night light on in your bathroom or choose to install a dimmer switch. If the bathroom has lights that are too bright, it may be very hard for you to fall asleep again.

General levels of discomfort

This is something that unfortunately happens throughout the pregnancy, but it increases in the second and third trimesters.

Mostly this will manifest itself as lacking a comfortable position that you can use to sleep. For instance, if you like sleeping on your stomach, you cannot use it anymore. Back sleepers also need a new position because it is not advisable to sleep on your back after the first trimester. This is also because the uterus begins to press on the main vein that carries the blood to the heart from your lower body and interferes with circulation.

You can solve the problem by sleeping on your side – especially on the left side. That will help to ease your discomfort and still be safe for the fetus. The circulation will also reduce chances of waking up with swollen feet, hands and ankles, because the kidneys are allowed to function properly. If the position is uncomfortable for you, that is the reason pillows were developed – place them between your knees, behind your back, under your abdomen, or whatever position works for you.

Leg cramps

Usually happens during the second trimester, although it can also happen at other times. The cause is not certain, although there is a school of thought that it may be due to the compression of blood vessels in the legs thanks to the extra weight of pregnancy. Sometimes they may occur during the day, but they will mostly occur during the night.

Another theory gives the reason behind the cramps to be low levels of magnesium and calcium, so make sure these minerals are increased in your diet – consume sources such as beans for magnesium and yogurt for calcium. If you think you need a supplement, make sure to discuss it with your doctor for some extra advice.

In addition, during your day, stretch your legs as much as you can, drink lots of water, as well as wearing support hose. In the occasion you get a cramp, stretch the leg, and flex the ankle and foot towards your nose gently. If the pain is persistent and sever, it is best to consult with your doctor, as they may be signs of a blood clot.


Similar to general discomfort, this problem can happen at any time in the pregnancy. Another thing to note is that it can get worse at night when you are trying to lie down, even though it can happen during the day.

The annoying problem is due to the increase in pregnancy hormone levels. They tend to relax the muscle that is responsible for keeping the stomach acid where it belongs – within the stomach. In the third trimester particularly, the cases of heartburns can get even more frequent, thanks to the baby bump pushing against the stomach.

How you can avoid this though is by knowing exactly what you are eating, at least for the most part. Stay away from acidic, greasy and spicy foods. In addition, avoid consuming larger meals, eat your dinner at least two hours before bedtime, and use some firm pillows for your head to prevent acid refluxes. Antacids such as Rolaids can help, but make sure your doctor gives you the thumbs-up before you use them.

Congestion in the nasal cavity

This can occur anytime in the pregnancy. This is due to the increasing blood flow to the whole body, thanks to the increasing levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones, and this also includes the membranes of the nose. Because of this, they will swell and produce higher amounts of mucus, meaning you are struggling with a running nose and postnasal drip that causes you to cough at night when you are trying to sleep.

Nasal strips and sprays can help in easing the problem, although you can talk with your doctor about other options you can explore after the first trimester.

Final thoughts

Pregnancy is a challenging time, even if you use comfortable beddings from Tuft and Needle at Lowes. However, these problems are only temporary, and when you implement the strategies above, they can help to ease your discomfort.