During pregnancy, insomnia can be caused by a variety of different mental health conditions or sleep disorders. Physical changes to the body during pregnancy also make it difficult to get quality rest.

Mental health, pregnancy, and insomnia

Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can all cause and/or worsen insomnia symptoms during pregnancy. Feelings of worry or stress about upcoming life changes can also cause sleep disruptions.

Physical changes and sleep

The body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, leading to nighttime awakenings in 98% of women in their third trimester. Pregnancy-related poor sleep may be due to things like:

  • Increased pressure on the bladder, making you need to urinate more often at night
  • Back and leg pain, which may make it difficult to get comfortable
  • Heartburn and chest pain that often gets worse before bedtime
  • Changes to normal body processes — such as shortness of breath or a faster heart rate — which can make it harder to fall asleep

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom's profile picture
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom, PhD

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.

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