Pregnant and can't sleep, any advice?

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/20/2013 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Hi ladies, I am currently 5 months pregnant and I am having a very tough time getting comfortable at night. I find myself tossing and turning until 2 am , and I have to wake up with my 16 month old at 7am. I'm exhausted in the mornings and feeling crabby from not sleeping well. I have even snuck coffee from fear of not being able to keep my eyes open while caring for my daughter. I am very busy during the day and my the end of the night my already bad back just feels awful and I can't sleep! I already use a body pillow to put in between my legs , but it doesn't help with my back. Does anyone have advice on healthy and natural ways to help with the back pain and/ or not being able to sleep? I feel terrible how witchy I've been lately and desperately need a good nights sleep

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Bayyinah - posted on 05/21/2013

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Hi Danielle, I am 33.5 weeks pregnant with my first child and yes sleeping right now is a challenge. I use my body pillow also but I also use a moist heating pad for my low back. It eases me to sleep and relaxes me. Try some heat.

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Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/26/2013

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All you ladies were so kind and helpful! It makes me happy to know there are such sweet people out in the world! Rachel, I do not have any other pain besides my back, I was in a pretty rough car accident one month before I became pregnant and my back has never been right since. They gave me Meds for my back pain but those arnt an option now that I'm pregnant!!

Lindsay - posted on 05/25/2013

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A massage by a certified/licensed therapist will help with pain and to relax you = a better night sleep. A chiropractor can also help with the back pain. Both helped me get through my last trimester.

Caprice - posted on 05/24/2013

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Hi Danielle , my name is Caprice & like your self I have the same problem but what I noticed helps alot is a body pillow. You would rap your self in the pillow at night as if it were something like a cuddling session with your spouse. its good for your back but also good for the baby.

Rachel - posted on 05/24/2013

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Hi Danielle, I'm a midwife (and mum of two). Have you thought about using a tens machine? Its great for back pain and can be used prior to labour. Also alternating ice and heat packs may give you better relief than using one or the other. Do you get any pain in your abdomen and/or thighs? Its possible you may have SPD as a result of the ligaments relaxing. If this was the case a support belt can help. Its probably already been said, but you need to rest (if you can and work allowing) when your little one does.x

Alaina - posted on 05/24/2013

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For sleep passion fruit and valerian root works well, yarrow can hep with pain. Always ask a doc before trying any herbal stuff while prego. Sounds like you're having a back pregnacy that can be difficult. I slept with a bag of ice most nights. It helped...

Pamela - posted on 05/24/2013

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There are several teas that aid with sleep. Chamomile and Peppermint are the two most popular ones and can be purchased at most grocery stores and deinitely health food stores.
I do not know your financial circumstances, but if you can afford a massage, get one and ask the massage therapist to concentrate on your back. YES, pregnant women can be massaged without harm to you or your baby.
There are flower remedies called Bach Flower remedies. They are flower essences that are used medicinally. You place a few drops under your tongue. I would suggest you get Rescue Remedy which is used to relieve stress and is perectly harmless to you and your baby!
May you enjoy relief from the back pressure and have a fabulous night's sleep every night!

Dynisharedshemine - posted on 05/23/2013

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Try a warm shower then put cool towels on your head rap your feet in bags put Vaseline on them before you put them in bags a.d you should be sleeping like a baby

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/23/2013

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Oh yes it sure does get harder with sleep when the bub comes! I have a great hubby who is willing to take a few middle of the night feelings over if I pump so that will help!! I do indulge in back rubs from hubby or I'll pout and who wants a pouty pregnant wife? ( I'm only kind of kidding)

Mariya - posted on 05/23/2013

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Hi Danielle,
I just gave birth 2 weeks ago - it gets worse with the sleep! (not to discourage you..). Is there anyone you could ask for a massage of the lower back? This is how I survived through the whole pregnancy.
Also, a bath tub potentially could help you (which should not be too hot, as you probably know - and only if you are comfortable with it).
For the heat, you could do a rice sock: put rice in an old sock, microwave it for 2 minutes, it will keep the heat for a while (also might be handy during labor ;)).
Oh, when it was very bad for me, I would do some exercising / stretching (like bending forward with arms in lock behind my back; also stand on all 4 (knees and hands) and do bends of the back (like a cat); or any exercises the website spinning babies recommend.
Coffee: they say 1 cup of coffee is ok during pregnancy; 2 cups if it is instant coffee. I had instant coffee a cup a day (two cups on a rare occasion) during the whole pregnancy (but the way how I like my coffee is not strong, very sweet and lots of milk, my DH says it is not coffee but sweet water with milk, lol) - the baby is ok so far.

Hope your back will get better!

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/23/2013

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Thank you !! I love my crazy kids and I know it will be exhausting but I can always invent some kind of off button to insert in each child when they are driving momma too crazy!! ( that's one of my dreams to help save a shred of my sanity lol)

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/23/2013

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I also have a 6 yr old step daughter that spends the weekends with us... Im trying to prepare myself mentally now that I'll never be sane again! I might need some of that crystal not so light !!

Shard'e - posted on 05/23/2013

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My 2 week old is my first child . I had her may 6 2013 . But what i was saying was i remember all the sleeping problems i had. I would be up at 3 in the morning. My body felt tired but i couldnt sleep at all. I couldnt imagine how busy you can
get with 3 children with this one that I have im up every two hours feeding her.

Michelle - posted on 05/23/2013

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Danielle... I'm with you on the needing sleep. I am lucky to get 4 hours because I have 3 kids. I really pretty much just went 5 years on no sleep (the offspring can and will sleep in shifts). I've learned sweet dreams are made of sleep.... It's bad. I have a lot of problems now because of it. They say in basic military training that pain is weakness leaving the body, push pass the pain, the body is capable of so much more than our mind will let it, but I exceeded the limits of what the body could handle. Because my sleep issues are not because I don't want to sleep or can't sleep, but because nobody will let me sleep, I'm definitely addicted to energy drinks/coffee/and Diet Coke. And those drinks do save lives. They are also the reason I still have my children because there is just no way I can clean and keep up without those drinks. But there are many nights where the kids are asleep, I could sleep, but I over did the energy drinks and my body was like, "Let's play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook for 4 straight hours, or maybe run a marathon..." Then there are days where I really consider faking ADHD for the Ritalin after considering Crystal Meth (like Crystal Light Energy drinks but without the Light) as an option (I've never done any illegal drugs beyond marijuana).
Right now, you have one kid and one on the way? Two was traumatic for me. I thought I was never going to figure it out, how to juggle 2 kids. Then by the time I found a comfort zone, kid 3 arrived. Now my life is just chaos and mayhem. People say it gets easier, but I'm finding out after talking to parents of teens, it just gets harder. Different, but harder.
I'm also reading a lot of research that suggests having an even amount of children is easier than having an odd amount. It still has not persuaded me into trying for kid number 4, but if I do get pregnant again, I will be latching onto that article for peace of mind over it. I am hoping you will do the same once things get crazy.

Shard'e - posted on 05/23/2013

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I remember i was 5 months. I have a 2 week 0ld baby now. I had sleeping problems. Try putting a pillow between your legs when u sleep on your side. Also put a soft pillow under your tummy just a little so it can take pressure off it .

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/23/2013

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Thanks ladies! Michelle, I also need my sleep! I know some people can sleep for 5 hours and feel fine and God knows I wish I were one of those people! I don't drink caffeine at all on a regular basis, but I have had a few days where I felt drinking a cup of coffee was worth saving a life I might have ended if they crossed this miserable monster!

Michelle - posted on 05/23/2013

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I had sleeping troubles when pregnant with my first... After I had kid 2 and 3, of course, 4 hours of sleep is a good night's sleep to me... Anyway, I too have back problems. The doctor called the insomnia "Mother's Sleep," stating it's actually quite normal for our bodies to prepare us for not getting to sleep once baby comes by not sleeping, like trying to get you used to it. I don't care if it was normal. I needed my sleep. What I did? Not all of it is all-natural.

Ambien. The doctor gave me Ambien during the 3rd trimester. It gave me a whole 4 hours a night.

Tylenol. When my back hurt, I did Tylenol. It didn't do much.

Back Rub. I made the husband rub my back. If he wouldn't rub my back for me for an hour every night before I went to bed, I was going to pay someone for it (a massage therapist or hooker,I wasn't picky), so he would to save money :) Actually my water broke with that kid when we were getting ready for my nightly back rub.

Stretching. Within reason with the pregnancy, I stretched a lot when I was pregnant. I didn't over do it. Just listen to the body on how far you can go.

There are some natural sedatives that will help you sleep like catnip, but I wouldn't suggest it pregnant. You are almost better off to go with a pill that made it through clinical trials on pregnant women than something we never really studied. Any "natural" supplements you take, I would speak with the doctor first before adding it. Since someone brought up Magnesium, that is a natural muscle relaxer and laxative. It's a good supplement if the doctor okays it, especially if the iron in the prenatals are backing you up.

And I am a Diet Coke drinker. I switched to caffeine free for the most part with my pregnancies, but I still had to have my caffeine ones once in a while (like I probably averaged 2 a day). When it comes to "poisons," I'm under the impression your placenta filters a lot of that out. So regardless what you ingest, if you get worried about it, simply ask the ultra sound tech how healthy your placenta looks. If you are overloading it with crap, it will age too fast (and that's what causes low birth weights). The baby's weight is another indicator to a healthy baby regardless of your life as incubator on the go, like if your baby is not gaining weight at a healthy pace, back off the caffeine and anything else that everyone has labeled with a Mr. Yuck for Pregnancy.

But keep in mind, the coffee a day may affect your sleep at night. Our bodies pregnant are a little more sensitive. If you approach a doctor with a sleeping disorder where you have difficulty sleeping, pretty much all of them at some point are going to tell you to reduce your caffeine during the day. So while it gives you a couple hours of sanity during the day, it might be the reason you need the sanity at night if that makes sense. Coffee is a sociopathic backstabbing witch like that.

And I agree with the Julie Dillon advice on electric heating pads. Avoid those. The issue is you don't want to over cook the bun in the oven. It's why they also tell you to avoid hot showers (which I didn't avoid those at all). There are ways to apply heat to the pain in your back safely, but you want to make sure with your doctor that it is safe the way you are doing it. I would also ask him about the rice sock. Take a tube sock, fill it with rice, tie a knot at the end, and then nuke it until it's warm (not too hot), time depending on size of sock, and then lay it on your back. With that option, you have some control to how hot you get it. I used to do that and the baths, but my baths were hot (not advised for pregnant women usually). I just made sure my tummy wasn't in the water, the shower curtain was open, the door to the bathroom was open, the husband was near by to check on me, and I didn't stay in the water longer than 10 minutes. I dont' know, maybe I did over cook the kids with that. It's hard to tell. They all came out tan. I just assumed it's because their dad is Puerto RIcan, but it might of been the baths :)

Dedunu De - posted on 05/23/2013

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Hi Danielle,I have practice this almost 7 years back.Try and see is it work on you.
Before you sleep relax your mind either on a chair or on the bed by listning to the calm music like Mosart music and then go to sleep .further always try to turn your left side and sleep.

Monica - posted on 05/21/2013

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you can take B-complex inn the morning and night after food with juice or milk, but no water. you can take magnesium with calcium at night along with a prenatal vitamin and see if that helps, also you can drink chamomile and lavender tea about 2 hrs before going to sleep. the health food stores sell teas for sleeping at night, just need to research what herbs not to take during pregnancy.
Chaparal is an herb you can not take during pregnancy.

Suzie - posted on 05/21/2013

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I have had pain in my legs for my last 2 pregnancies (presently 36 weeks pregnant) and both those pregnancies have been spent sleeping in a reclining chair - I can't sleep flat in the bed... otherwise after an hour I can't get up from the pain... sleeping in the lazy-boy is helping a lot since I can actually be on my back without being squished by my big boy (who is moving a lot and always lying in a way that I black out flat on my back for too long!)

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/21/2013

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Thank you Julie! I will try the TENS unit . My doctor gave me a few pain pills to take If really needed but I don't want To resort to that. I was in a bad accident one month before I got pregnabt and stopped taking the Meds and I really don't want to put anymore medicine into my body while pregnant, and thanks for the coffee tip! I would feel guilty everytime I'd drink it. So coffee is okay everyday as long as its one cup?

Julie - posted on 05/20/2013

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Ice packs on back for pain and relaxation. Or moist heat like a hot water bottle, but NO heating pads or electric blankets! You can also use a TENS unit (electric magnetic current which interferes with pain receptors and fatigues tight muscles to relaxed state. It is safe, effect and even used by many women during labor and delivery pains.
Mean while, try to shower b4 bed in order to relax and know that sleeping on the LEFT side is best for all your vital organs to work properly. Move the body pillow up slightly so it's still between legs, but also top end is tucked under your belly (this will keep weight off back @ rest)
Last, try a belly belt by day for lumbar support, which may decrease pain at night when trying to sleep at night. BTW, it's ok to sneak ONE CUP of coffee...I had one with both pregnancies daily and my kids have all 10 fingers, and toes :)"

Danielle Elizabeth - posted on 05/20/2013

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Thank you , I have never thought about sleeping in a reclining chair but I'll try it! Im willing to try anything before I chew someone's head off for simply breathing lol

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/20/2013

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Have you tried sleeping a a reclining chair? I know that helped me. I was terribly uncomfortable during both of my pregnancies. That is how I was the most comfortable, and I would even bring my body pillow out with me if I needed it.

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