How to Get a Better Night's Sleep While Pregnant

Mom-To-Be Sleep Problems

"I don't ever wake up refreshed."

Rachelle Willgren, of Blanco, Texas, says she spends nine hours in bed each night, so why is she zonked? "I get up a couple of times to pee and I can't fall back to sleep," says Willgren, who is six months pregnant. If her bladder doesn't rouse her, hip pain or heartburn does. By afternoon, she's dying for a nap!

The Doc Says: Willgren's wake-ups are due to the pressure the baby puts on her belly and bladder, says Louise O'Brien, Ph.D., associate professor of the University of Michigan Health System's Sleep Disorders Center. As for Willgren's hip discomfort, ligaments that support the uterus can stretch when you roll over or cough. Ouch!

Sleep Makeover:

Get Support
Maternity bands support a growing belly. Wearing one during the day takes stress off your back, groin, and middle so you're less achy at bedtime.

Use Extra Pillows
To ease pressure on your hips when trying to sleep on your side, place a body pillow between your legs.

Watch Your Diet
Eat small, mild meals to prevent fullness and the pain of reflux. Pass on the caffeine -- it can make you pee.

Snooze Success: "Using the maternity band during the day and body pillow at night made a big difference in my hip pain," Willgren says. "I'm much comfier now." Relegating spicy food to lunch helped her heartburn. "I'm finally starting to feel rested!"

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