How to Sleep During Pregnancy in the Second Trimester - Staying Comfortable & Safe!

Sleep in your second trimester can be challenging as your body changes and your belly starts to grow. If you’re already 13 weeks into your pregnancy or you’re just preparing, we’ve pulled together some sound advice to help you sleep better.

As you progress through your pregnancy, it becomes even more important to prioritise good sleep habits and hit that minimum 7 hours a night.

From finding the right sleeping positions to alleviating common discomforts, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your sleep during the second trimester.

Bump-Friendly Sleeping Positions

Many expectant mothers find it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position during the second trimester. However, some positions are recommended for both comfort and safety.

We recommend trialling out the ones below and seeing which you find the most comfortable. Take note of when you wake up feeling most rested.

Second-Trimester Sleeping PositionsWhat It Is
Left-Side Sleeping (S.O.S)Sleeping on your left side with your knees bent is often referred to as the sleep-on-side (S.O.S) position.

This position is ideal as it enhances circulation, benefiting both mother and baby.

Placing a pregnancy or body pillow between your legs can add extra support.
Right-Side SleepingWhile the left side is preferred for optimal blood flow, sleeping on your right side is also acceptable and can be more comfortable for some women.
Reclining PositionSleeping in a semi-upright position, propped up by a few pillows, can reduce heartburn and make breathing easier as your bump grows.
Pillow FortressMultiple pillows can help create a comfortable sleeping environment.

Place one pillow under your abdomen and another between your legs, and consider using extra pillows behind your back for additional support.

You can also use Snüz pregnancy pillows to make this position even more comfortable

It's advisable to avoid lying on your back for prolonged periods, as this can restrict blood flow to your baby. Listen to your body and adjust your sleeping position to where you feel most comfortable.

If you're unsure which sleeping position is safest for your pregnancy, consult your midwife or primary healthcare professional for advice.


How Does Sleep Change in the Second Trimester?

As your body continues to develop and change as your baby grows inside you, there are some common changes that you might experience when you're trying to get that all-important rest.

Here are some of the most common things expectant mothers experience during this stage of their pregnancy.

Strange Dreams During Pregnancy

Many expectant mothers report experiencing vivid and strange dreams during their second trimester. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors specific to pregnancy.

  1. After the first trimester, the surge in hormones, particularly progesterone and oestrogen, plays a significant role in altering sleep patterns and the vividness of dreams. These hormonal changes can affect how the brain processes thoughts and emotions, making dreams more intense and memorable.
  2. Pregnancy brings a mix of emotions and anxieties about the upcoming changes in life, motherhood, and the health of the baby. These concerns often find their way into dreams, manifesting as vivid scenarios that can be strange or unsettling.
  3. The increase in the body's metabolism and the need to frequently wake up to use the bathroom can disrupt the sleep cycle.

This disruption often leads to more frequent periods of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the phase in which we dream.

The more often you enter REM sleep, the more likely you are to remember your dreams, which might explain why these vivid dream experiences become more common during the second trimester.

Struggling to Sleep During Pregnancy

Second-trimester pregnancy sleep can be hard to come by for many reasons.

For one, the growing belly can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Many pregnant women find that sleeping on their side rather than their back during pregnancy can provide some relief.

In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy can also contribute to difficulty falling and staying asleep.

The increase in progesterone levels can cause drowsiness during the day but disrupt sleep at night. This hormone is also responsible for relaxing muscles, including those in the airway, which can lead to snoring or sleep apnea.

Stress and anxiety about becoming a mother and preparing for the baby's arrival can also keep you awake at night. It's important to address these feelings and try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. You can also ask your doctor or midwife about supplements to help you unwind.

Temperature Changes During the Night

Many women report experiencing temperature changes during the night, especially throughout their second trimester. This common phenomenon can be attributed to several physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

  1. The increase in metabolic rate to support the growing fetus results in higher body heat production. The body's efforts to dissipate this extra heat can lead to sensations of overheating, especially during periods of rest when the body is under less stress.
  2. Hormonal fluctuations play a significant role as well. Elevated levels of progesterone, a hormone critical for the maintenance of pregnancy, can affect the body's thermoregulation processes, making pregnant women feel warmer.
  3. The increased blood volume needed to nurture both the expectant mother and the fetus enhances circulation, further contributing to fluctuations in body temperature.

To mitigate these temperature changes and for comfort, sleep in a well-ventilated room, wear breathable, light clothing, and use bedding suited to your thermal comfort.

Drinking plenty of water before bed can also help regulate body temperature throughout the night, although this should be weighed against how often you have to get up to pee during the night.

Frequent Need to Urinate in the Night

One of the most common experiences for women in their second trimester is the increased occurrence of nocturnal urination.

This primarily results from physiological changes the body undergoes to accommodate the growing foetus. As the uterus expands, it exerts more pressure on the bladder, reducing its capacity to hold urine and leading to the need for more frequent urination.

Also, the body's volume of blood and other fluids increases significantly to support the developing baby. This increase in fluid means the kidneys must process more liquid, leading to more urine.

“While you can’t do much to lessen your need to urinate often, you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

Strengthening these muscles can help you ‘hold in’ your urine until you are able to get to the toilet. The best way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is through exercise.” – Pregnancy, Birth and Baby

Restless Leg Syndrome in Pregnancy

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, results in an uncontrollable urge to move the legs due to uncomfortable sensations. This condition often arises in the evenings or during rest, disrupting sleep.

RLS is common in pregnancy, affecting a significant number of expectant mothers, particularly in the second and third trimesters, with up to 25-30% experiencing it to some degree.

The increase in RLS during pregnancy is believed to be linked to hormonal changes, especially in estrogen and progesterone, and possibly to iron or folate deficiencies.

Since RLS can affect sleep quality and the overall health of the mother and fetus, managing this condition is important.

Pregnant women with RLS symptoms should consult their healthcare provider for a personalised management plan, including lifestyle adjustments and, if necessary, supplementation.

How to Relieve Pregnancy Insomnia in the Second Trimester

Relieving insomnia during pregnancy involves a combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and establishing a conducive sleep environment.

Here are some effective strategies to help expectant mothers enjoy a more restful night:

  • Establish a consistent sleep routine
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual
  • Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable
  • Regular physical activity during pregnancy can promote better sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Practice mindfulness and stress reduction techniques
  • Use extra pillows to support your body and find the most comfortable sleep position

If insomnia persists, speak with your healthcare provider. They can offer guidance and assess if a more tailored approach is necessary to ensure your and your baby's well-being.

How Much Sleep Do I Need When I'm Pregnant?

The amount of sleep needed during pregnancy varies among individuals, but generally, 7 to 9 hours per night is recommended.

Adequate rest is crucial for fetal development and the mother's health. Some women may require more sleep due to the body's increased demands during pregnancy.

Listen to your body and rest when needed, ensuring you’re providing both yourself and your baby the best care and conditions for health and well-being.

Summary: How to Sleep During Pregnancy in the Second Trimester

Improve your sleep quality during your second trimester by adopting bump-friendly sleeping positions, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and addressing common issues such as temperature fluctuations and frequent urination.

To find out more about how to ensure adequate, comfortable sleep throughout your pregnancy, read our Sleeping Safely & Comfortably Trimester by Trimester blog post.


Yes, regular, moderate exercise can improve sleep quality in the second trimester by reducing stress, easing discomfort, and promoting physical fatigue, which encourages restful sleep. However, avoid vigorous activities close to bedtime as they might interfere with falling asleep.

It's generally advised to stop sleeping on your stomach by the end of the first trimester or when it becomes uncomfortable. Around 12-14 weeks, many expectant mothers shift to side-sleeping, especially the left side, to promote better blood flow and comfort.

During the second trimester, it is important to avoid sleeping on your back. This can decrease blood flow to the heart and baby, potentially leading to lightheadedness, dizziness, or other complications. Side sleeping, especially on the left side, is highly recommended for optimal blood flow.

Yes, feeling tired during pregnancy is completely normal, especially in the first and third trimesters. It's your body's natural response to the changes and the increased demands of growing a baby. Resting and taking short naps can help manage this tiredness.

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