Ask An Expert: I’m About 7 Months Pregnant & Can’t Sleep. What Can I Do?

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Q: I’m about 7 months pregnant. For close to a month now, I’ve been finding it extremely difficult to sleep. Most times, I stay awake all night. This leaves me extremely fatigued the next day. I’m a stay-at-home mum with lots of hands to help with housekeeping; I’d say I’m not stressed. I didn’t experience this during my first and second pregnancy. What are the likely causes of this and what can be done?

Dr. Alex Kaoranu Molukwu (OB/GYN) says:

Pregnancy is hard work and no two pregnancies are the same.

In the third trimester, fatigue returns as your growing foetus puts more demand on your body and sleep becomes elusive. Studies have shown 78 percent of pregnant women report more disturbed sleep than at other times.

Pregnancy insomnia is often related to stress or anxiety about labour, delivery and/or balancing work and motherhood. The discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea, back pain, foetal movements, nocturia, indigestion, gastro-oesophageal reflux may also disturb sleep. Obesity and snoring are also known contributing factors.

Fiscal/financial problems can also cause headache and insomnia in pregnancy.

Drug treatment for sleep disorder in pregnancy is complicated by the fact that drug therapy can harm a developing foetus. Most women can manage pregnancy related insomnia by practising good sleep hygiene. Drink lots of fluids during the day, especially water, but cut down on the amount you drink before going to bed.

Avoid large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried food. If you can, cut down on daytime naps.

Please listen to your body, have a soothing shower, eat right and do not play the mother-to-be martyr.

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