How to Sleep in Early Pregnancy: What To Do & Not To Do

Establishing a good sleep routine early in your pregnancy will be a big help as your body adjusts to the changes that come with growing a tiny human.

The sooner you start practising good sleep habits, the better equipped you'll be to tackle any potential sleep struggles that may arise as your pregnancy progresses.

But between morning sickness, frequent bathroom trips, and all those pregnancy hormones, getting a good night's sleep can be easier said than done.

We've brought together some of our best advice on how to sleep well in your early pregnancy, so you can get the rest you need to support both you and your growing baby.

Why Do Sleep Problems Occur During Early Pregnancy?

Sleep problems during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, are primarily due to the body undergoing significant changes as it prepares to support the growing baby.

Hormonal fluctuations are one of the main culprits, with elevated levels of progesterone affecting the sleep-wake cycle.

Besides hormonal changes, the physical and emotional adjustments that come with pregnancy can also disrupt sleep.

For example, the heightened need for urination interrupts sleep, and the increase in blood volume and metabolism can lead to higher body temperatures, making it difficult to sleep comfortably.

Emotional adjustments, such as concerns about childbirth, parenting, or financial readiness, can further add to sleep disturbances by causing anxiety and stress.

Collectively, these factors create a complex mix of reasons why pregnant women may find it hard to achieve restful sleep during their first trimester.

Common Sleep Disorders During Early Pregnancy

Expectant mums in their first trimester might experience a variety of sleep disorders. Some of the most common sleep problems include:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty in falling or staying asleep is common, driven by discomfort, hormonal changes, or anxiety about pending parenthood.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): An urge to move the legs due to uncomfortable sensations, often disrupting sleep.
  • Sleep apnea: This involves breathing interruptions during sleep. This disorder becomes more common with increased body weight and hormonal changes.
  • Frequent urination: The need to urinate frequently throughout the night can significantly impact sleep continuity.
  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness): While often associated with morning, these symptoms can occur at night, making it difficult to sleep.
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares: Some expectant mums report an increase in vivid dreams or nightmares, which may interfere with sleep quality.

If you're experiencing any of these sleep disorders, talk to your midwife or primary healthcare provider to protect the health of you and your baby.

How Does Lack of Sleep During Pregnancy Affect Mum & Baby?

Lack of sleep during the first trimester of pregnancy can have significant effects on both your prenatal health and your baby.

For mum, insufficient sleep can lead to increased irritability, stress, and difficulty concentrating, thus impacting your daily activities and potentially your emotional well-being.

It can also exacerbate common pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and contribute to a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

For the baby, the overall health and development can be indirectly affected by the mum's lack of sleep.

While the direct impact on the baby might not be as immediate, maternal stress and associated health issues can contribute to complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight.

How to Reduce Insomnia During the First Trimester

Reducing insomnia during the first trimester of pregnancy can be crucial for both the health of the mother and the baby. Here are some strategies that may help alleviate this common issue:

Sleep StrategyHow to Implement
Establish a Regular Sleep ScheduleSettling into a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule helps tune your body's internal clock, making it easier for you to drift off into peaceful sleep.
Optimise Your Sleep EnvironmentEnsure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. If necessary, use blackout curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines.
Limit Fluid Intake Before BedReduce fluid intake in the hours before bedtime to minimise nighttime bathroom trips and ensure you stay hydrated during the day.
Practise a Relaxing Bedtime RoutineEngage in calming activities before bed, such as taking a warm bath, reading, or practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
Exercise RegularlyModerate exercise during the day can promote better sleep at night. Avoid vigorous activity close to bedtime.
Seek Comfortable Sleep PositionsUse a pregnancy pillow for extra support and to help find comfortable sleeping positions as the pregnancy progresses.
Consult a Healthcare ProfessionalIf insomnia persists, speak with a doctor or sleep specialist for personalised advice and potential safe medication recommendations to improve sleep.

Can a Pregnancy Pillow Really Help?

Pregnancy pillows are a huge game changer when it comes to sleeping during all stages of your pregnancy and even postpartum.

The SnüzCurve Pregnancy Support Pillow is a one-of-a-kind pregnancy pillow that provides adequate support without the need for additional pillows or bulky C-shape pregnancy pillows.

The unique KneeBlade design keeps your spine in a neutral alignment throughout the night, keeping you comfortable and well-rested while ensuring your bump and baby are supported and safe.

We've developed our pregnancy pillow with the support of healthcare professionals, so you can rest assured that you're doing your best for the health of you and baby.

Best Sleep Positions for Sleep During Early Pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy is critical for both the expectant mother and the developing baby. Due to physical and hormonal changes, achieving high-quality sleep can be challenging.

Certain sleeping positions are recommended to enhance comfort and promote better sleep during this initial stage:

1. Sleeping on Your Side

Often referred to as the SOS (Sleep on Side) position, this is considered the most comfortable and safest sleeping position during pregnancy. It enhances circulation, benefits the kidneys, and reduces swelling.

2. The Left Side Advantage

While sleeping on either side is beneficial, the left side is particularly recommended. This position improves blood flow and nutrients to the placenta, assisting in the baby’s growth and development.

3. Slightly Curled Position

Lying on your side with your knees slightly bent (also known as the foetal position) can reduce pressure on your abdomen and help alleviate lower back pain.

4. Using Pregnancy Pillows

Incorporating specially designed pregnancy pillows or a regular pillow between your legs while lying on your side can offer additional support, align your hips, and make this position more comfortable.

5. Reclined Sleeping Position

For those who experience heartburn and indigestion, a slightly upright sleeping position may help. Using pillows to prop up your upper body can reduce acid reflux symptoms common in early pregnancy.

Sleep Positions to Avoid During Pregnancy

It is equally important to note that certain positions, such as lying flat on your back or stomach, should be avoided during pregnancy as they can cause discomfort, lower back pain, and reduce circulation to your heart and your baby.

Read When to Stop Sleeping on Your Back During Pregnancy: Your Questions Answered


Creating a Healthy Bedtime Routine in Early Pregnancy

Creating a healthy bedtime routine is crucial for achieving high-quality sleep during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Plus, if you do the work to set yourself up with a solid routine now, it will be much easier to maintain throughout the rest of your pregnancy.

  • Wind down early – Start a bedtime routine an hour before sleep. Avoid screens to reduce blue light exposure.
  • Take a warm bath – A warm bath can relax muscles and calm the mind, aiding in sleep readiness.
  • Drink a warm, non-caffeinated beverage – Enjoy a warm cup of milk or caffeine-free herbal tea for a soothing effect.
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation – Engage in mindfulness or meditation to ease pregnancy-related anxiety or stress, improving sleep quality.
  • Read a book – Read something light to relax your mind, avoiding stimulating or stressful topics. Parenting books can be a good idea!
  • Adjust the environment – Ensure the bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Use comfortable bedding and a pregnancy pillow if needed.
  • Gentle prenatal yoga or stretching – Perform gentle stretching or prenatal yoga to alleviate physical discomfort and find a comfortable sleeping position.

Summary: Overcoming Sleep Problems During the First Trimester

Alleviating sleep challenges during the first trimester is paramount for the well-being of both mum and baby.

By understanding the common disruptors to sleep and implementing strategies like establishing a healthy bedtime routine, optimising sleep positions, and possibly incorporating a pregnancy pillow, expectant mothers can significantly enhance their sleep quality.

To find out more about how to maintain a healthy sleep schedule throughout your pregnancy, check out our Sleeping Trimester by Trimester blog post.


Yes, it's perfectly normal to experience sleep struggles during early pregnancy. Hormonal changes, physical discomfort, and emotional adjustments can all disrupt sleep. Implementing good sleep hygiene and routines can help manage these issues and improve sleep quality.

Extreme tiredness during early pregnancy is not specifically linked to the baby's gender. Both male and female pregnancies can cause significant fatigue. However, some women believe that carrying a female foetus can make you more tired. This is most likely an old wives' tale, though.

The month where pregnancy fatigue is most pronounced varies, but many women report the first trimester to be particularly exhausting. This is due to the significant hormonal changes and increased energy demands on the body during the early stages of pregnancy.

An early pregnancy is considered healthy if it’s accompanied by typical symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and a missed period, alongside stable hormone levels confirmed by your doctor.

Regular prenatal check-ups and ultrasounds are essential to monitor the baby's development and ensure everything is progressing well.

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