How Much Sleep Is Enough During Pregnancy?

Getting enough sleep during your pregnancy is incredibly important – we’re sure you’ve been told that countless times. But we know it’s not always the easiest to get a full 8 hours when you’re carrying a growing human being inside of you. So, how much sleep is enough during pregnancy?

The truth is, every woman’s body is different and will have different sleep needs during pregnancy. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you understand what your body needs during this special time.

How Many Hours Should You Sleep During Pregnancy?

TrimesterOptimum Hours of Sleep
First Trimester7-9 hours (with napping when necessary)
Second Trimester7-9 hours
Third Trimester7-9 hours (with napping when necessary)

The amount of sleep needed during pregnancy can vary from one woman to another, but healthcare professionals agree that pregnant women should aim for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

However, it's important to listen to your body; if you're feeling more tired than usual, allowing yourself extra rest is beneficial.

During the first trimester, many women experience increased fatigue and may need more sleep as their bodies adjust to the pregnancy.

The need for sleep might fluctuate during the second trimester, often considered the most comfortable period for sleep. Yet, the third trimester might bring about sleep challenges due to physical discomfort and anxiety, necessitating adjustments to ensure adequate rest.

This general sleep recommendation may change based on how the pregnancy is progressing and any existing medical conditions. Always work with your healthcare team to do what's best for you.

What Counts as Insomnia in Pregnancy?

Insomnia in pregnancy involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep.

It's common due to hormonal changes, physical discomfort in your hips and back, and anxiety about childbirth and parenthood, impacting overall sleep quality and duration.


Is Excessive Sleeping a Problem During Pregnancy?

Excessive sleeping during pregnancy, while less commonly discussed than insomnia, can also present challenges.

What's Meant by Excessive Sleeping in Pregnancy?

Excessive sleeping in pregnancy refers to regularly sleeping more than the recommended 9-10 hours per night without feeling refreshed, which may indicate underlying health issues or contribute to decreased physical activity and increased discomfort rather than the body's natural demand for more rest during this period.

It's essential to differentiate between the body's natural need for more rest during pregnancy and excessive sleep that could signal underlying health issues. Prolonged periods of sleep, especially if accompanied by a lack of energy or persistent fatigue, could indicate conditions such as depression or thyroid problems.

Also, spending excessive time in bed can contribute to physical pain like back pain and may reduce physical activity levels, which are crucial for maintaining health during pregnancy.

If you find yourself sleeping significantly more than 9-10 hours regularly and still feeling unrefreshed or lethargic, we recommend consulting with your healthcare provider to rule out any potential concerns.

What Are the Risks of Excessive Sleeping During Pregnancy?

While the urge to rest more during pregnancy is natural and often necessary, consistently sleeping more than recommended may have certain risks.

Excessive sleeping could potentially lead to:

  • Increased risk of gestational diabetes: Prolonged periods of inactivity, including excessive sleep, can contribute to the risk of developing gestational diabetes by affecting glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
  • Weight gain: Excessive sleep may correlate with reduced physical activity, which, in conjunction with pregnancy's hormonal changes, can lead to unhealthy weight gain beyond what is considered normal.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Extended periods of inactivity, whether sitting or lying down, can increase the risk of developing blood clots, such as DVT, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.
  • Mental health concerns: Over-sleeping can be a symptom of depression or anxiety, conditions that not only affect the mother's health but can also impact prenatal development and the well-being of the baby. Perinatal mental health support should be sought.

It is crucial to strike a balance between receiving adequate rest and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle during pregnancy.


What Makes You Feel So Tired During Pregnancy?

There are a few conditions and pregnancy symptoms that commonly contribute to feeling fatigued during pregnancy. Some of the most common ones include...

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea, marked by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep, becomes more likely in pregnancy due to physiological and hormonal changes.

The rise in oestrogen and progesterone can swell the mucous membranes in the nose, leading to congestion and breathing difficulties during sleep.

Also, the expanding uterus pressing against the diaphragm reduces lung capacity, making breathing harder.

These factors, along with potential weight gain, significantly raise the risk of sleep apnea, which can impact sleep quality and health.

Pregnant women with symptoms like chronic snoring, daytime sleepiness, or observed breathing pauses should seek medical advice.

Low Iron Levels

Low iron levels in pregnant women are primarily due to the increased blood volume required to support the growing foetus, which dilutes the blood and can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

This condition can cause excessive fatigue as the body struggles to produce enough haemoglobin, affecting sleep quality and duration. Women may find themselves feeling more tired than usual but unable to attain restful sleep, exacerbating overall fatigue and impacting daytime energy levels.

Nausea Before Bed

Nausea before bed can significantly disrupt sleep patterns for pregnant women, making them feel more tired. Known as nighttime nausea, it not only makes falling asleep harder but can also lead to interrupted sleep if one wakes up feeling sick.

Adequate rest becomes hard to achieve, leading to a cycle of fatigue. Additionally, discomfort from nausea may decrease the quality of sleep, preventing deep, restorative sleep stages that are crucial for energy recovery.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes, a condition marked by high blood sugar, can develop during pregnancy and often leads to fatigue. This happens when the body can't produce enough insulin to manage the blood sugar increase during pregnancy, causing hyperglycemia.

High blood sugar can cause more frequent urination, possibly leading to dehydration and increased tiredness.

To prevent gestational diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy is key. This means regular exercise, a balanced diet full of fibre, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and limited processed foods and sugars.

These habits can help keep blood sugar levels in check and lower the risk of developing the condition. Following healthcare advice, staying at a healthy weight before and during pregnancy can also reduce risk.

Attending prenatal health appointments is vital for monitoring signs of gestational diabetes and getting personalised advice and care.


Why Does it Matter How Much a Pregnant Woman Sleeps?

Adequate sleep during pregnancy is fundamental for both maternal and foetal health. It not only supports the physical and emotional well-being of the mother but also plays a crucial role in the baby's development.

Proper rest helps regulate mood, improves cognitive function, and reduces the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Ensuring a pregnant woman gets enough sleep is key to a healthy pregnancy and optimal foetal development.

How to Improve Sleep During Pregnancy

Improving sleep during pregnancy involves creating a comfortable sleep environment and routine. Choose a supportive mattress and use pillows to ease discomfort.

Pregnancy pillows like the SnüzCurve Pregnancy Support Pillow can provide support and comfort throughout your pregnancy by promoting proper spinal alignment and relieving pressure on your hips, back, and abdomen.

Establish a consistent bedtime routine, including relaxation techniques such as prenatal yoga or warm baths. Minimise caffeine and heavy meals before sleep, and maintain a cool, dark, and quiet bedroom.

Read our How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy post to learn more about improving your quality of sleep during pregnancy.

When to See a Doctor About the Amount of Sleep You're Getting

It's crucial to consult a doctor about sleep issues during pregnancy if experiencing persistent insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, or symptoms of sleep apnea. Early intervention can prevent potential complications for you and your baby.

Summary: How Much Sleep Is Enough During Pregnancy?

Understanding and prioritising sleep during pregnancy is essential for the health and well-being of both mother and baby. While individual needs may vary, aiming for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep and seeking medical advice when sleep disturbances occur can make a huge difference to your pregnancy experience.

For more information about staying comfortable at night during your pregnancy and advice from The Modern Midwife, head over to our Sleep Centre blog!


First-trimester fatigue typically peaks around weeks 9 to 10 as the body adjusts to significant hormonal changes. However, every pregnancy is different, and some may experience peak tiredness earlier or later.

It's normal to experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, physical discomfort, and anxiety. However, consistent sleep problems should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure both maternal and foetal health.

Yes, lack of sleep during pregnancy can affect the baby. Poor sleep in pregnant women is linked to longer labour, increased chances of caesarean delivery, and can influence a baby’s weight. Adequate sleep is crucial for healthy foetal development and reducing the risk of pregnancy complications.

While it's normal for pregnant women to feel more fatigued and require more sleep, consistently sleeping for 12 hours might indicate other health issues or excessive sleep. It's important to consult a healthcare provider to ensure there are no underlying conditions.

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