How to manage insomnia during pregnancy?

Comment gérer les insomnies pendant la grossesse ?

Pregnancy has its share of little inconveniences, and sleep problems are one of them! Insomnia during pregnancy is quite common among pregnant women, whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end (depending on the individual, of course). Would you like to understand the causes of insomnia during pregnancy? What are the solutions for getting back to restful sleep (and getting a good night's sleep before baby arrives)? Elia tells you all about it.

Why does pregnancy cause insomnia?

Pregnancy isn't a smooth ride for moms-to-be! Between hormonal fluctuations, bodily changes, digestive discomforts due to the pressure of the uterus on the stomach, and the stress of baby's arrival, it's hardly surprising that a pregnant woman's sleep can be disrupted. What causes insomnia? It all depends on what stage of pregnancy you're in.

Early pregnancy: the 1st trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy is the period during which the pregnant woman's body undergoes its first physical changes, and above all, major hormonal fluctuations. Estrogen and progesterone are boiling over, bringing with them a whole host of related symptoms, including night-time awakenings and difficulty falling asleep. What's more, if you're prone to late-afternoonnausea, it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, as can waking nausea, which can stop you dead in your tracks! In fact, insomnia is most common during the 1st trimester.

Mid-pregnancy: the 2nd trimester

During the 2nd trimester, sleep disorders are generally less frequent, but of course this is different for every woman! If, however, you're one of those women who continue to experience interrupted or difficult sleep, this may be due to stress (the famous one), but also to changes in your body.

The reason? A larger, more painful breasts Pregnancy-relatedphysical changes can make certain positions uncomfortable. If you're used to falling asleep on your stomach, for example, this position is no longer really suitable!

At the end of pregnancy: the 3rd trimester

At the end of pregnancy, sleep disorders are back with a vengeance for many pregnant women! The cause? Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which affects a number of women at the end of pregnancy. The uterus is at its maximum size, and its volume presses on the stomach, making digestion difficult and causing these unpleasant refluxes. Not forgetting, of course, the incessant need to urinate, which doesn't make for a peaceful night's sleep! As for body changes, they can be all the more disturbing when it comes to finding the ideal sleeping position.

What are the symptoms of insomnia during pregnancy?

Pregnancy insomnia symptoms are linked to their cause! Generally speaking, they include difficulty in falling asleep, waking up during the night with difficulty in getting back to sleep (sometimes caused by cravings), waking up very early in the morning (due to nausea in particular), and consequent fatigue during the day (irritability, heightened sensitivity, emotions in a mess, etc.). Some women also experience "hot flashes" with excessive perspiration at night, which can also disrupt sleep.

How can pregnant women get back to sleep?

A good night's sleep is obviously essential if you are to get through this period without accumulating additional fatigue. Fortunately, there are solutions (both medicinal and natural) to combat insomnia .

Medical treatment: Donormyl®

One of the best-known medical treatments for fast, effective insomnia is Donormyl®. This over-the-counter treatment contains an antihistamine that acts as a sedative. It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the duration and quality of sleep . Donormyl® is used to treat occasional insomnia in adults, but unlike conventional sleeping pills, it is considered more of a sedative. Its advantage: it is not habit-forming or physically addictive, but it's best not to make it a systematic reflex over the long term. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor for advice.

Natural sleeping pills: homeopathy and aromatherapy

When it comes to natural sleeping pills, you can turn to homeopathy and aromatherapy.

In homeopathy, to put an end to waking up in the middle of the night, you can take Aconitum napellus. For sleep difficulties linked to chronic exhaustion, homeopathic doctors recommend Argentum nitricum (3 times a day). For anxiety-related sleep disorders, we recommend Gelsemium sempervirens 9CH. Here again, homeopathy is a possibility, but there is no scientific proof of its efficacy.

As for aromatherapy, lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils are appreciated for their relaxing effect: they can help you fall asleep more easily (a few drops on the wrist, temple or pillow!). But a word of warning: not all essential oils are recommended for use during pregnancy.

Choose a comfortable AND customizable pillow

With a large belly, it's sometimes difficult to find a good sleeping position: a cervical pillow is ideal for maintaining good alignment between the spine and the nape of the neck. Of course, a pillow for pregnant women must also be very comfortable. There's nothing more relaxing than resting your head on a soft pillow during pregnancy. At Wopilo, for example, you'll find a range ofcomfortable, customizable pillows. Firm or soft? Thick or thin? The choice is yours (and baby's)!

A pregnancy pillow for sleeping

You've probably seen the maternity pillow on many gift lists for mothers-to-be? Unsurprisingly, it's a very useful maternity accessory, both to make the breastfeeding position comfortable, and during pregnancy, to lean back or lie down comfortably. They come in all colors and for all tastes, and we've been told that it's not unusual to see daddy snapping them up!

Habits for a better pregnancy

Certain habits and routines can be very helpful in avoiding sleep disorders! Here's our advice:

  • Diet: opt for several normal meals at fixed times, rather than continuous nibbling or an overly rich meal in the evening, which can disrupt sleep;
  • Remember to drink enough water every day (minimum 1.5 liters), and avoid concentrating everything at the end of the day (to avoid night-time cravings);
  • Don't hesitate to take a short nap after lunch (20 to 30 minutes);
  • Go to bed and get up at set times, to establish a regular cycle and get your body used to it!

Does insomnia stop after childbirth?

While insomnia during pregnancy is fairly common, it can also persist even after childbirth. The first, and most obvious, reason for this is multiple awakenings for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Several studies show that insomnia after childbirth can also be a sign of post-partum depression: keep a close eye on this after baby's arrival!

Pregnancy insomnia FAQ

How can insomnia during pregnancy be relieved?

Insomnia can be alleviated in a number of ways, whether through medication (e.g. Donormyl®), natural remedies (aromatherapy, homeopathy) or by adopting daily habits to help you get back to a healthy, restorative sleep pattern (a well-balanced diet, naps in the early afternoon, gentle physical activity, etc.). If necessary, consult a doctor for advice.

When is insomnia most common during pregnancy?

Although the quality of sleep varies from one woman to another, it would seem that insomnia is more frequent at the beginning of pregnancy (due to vomiting and hormonal fluctuations) and at the end (due to physical changes, gastro-oesophageal reflux and the stress of childbirth).

Is insomnia a sign of pregnancy?

Insomnia can occur during pregnancy for a variety of reasons, but it's not a sign of early pregnancy! And fortunately, some women sleep very well throughout their pregnancy.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.