Sleeping By the Trimesters: 2nd Trimester


This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

The second trimester may come as a relief to weary first-time mothers who didn’t initially expect to be so tired throughout pregnancy. Although many mothers start to feel more energetic, Dr. Lee suggests that instead of packing in more activities, just enjoy the second trimester and continue to get as much sleep as possible.

With nausea subsiding and hormones leveling off, women also find they get up to use the bathroom less. In Kathleen Baratte-Beebe and Kathryn Lee’s study “Sources of Midsleep Awakenings in Childbearing Women” urinary frequency is the primary source of midsleep awakenings during the first and third trimester. The authors explain, “Bladder compression by the enlarging uterus in the first trimester is subsequently relieved when the uterus moves up from the pelvis into the abdomen in the second trimester.”


Lisa, a mother of two, spent both pregnancies clutching a bulk size container of antacids. Apparently, she is not alone in experiencing heart burn. Dr. Lee explains, “To make room for the enlarging uterus, the diaphragm is restricted and breathing becomes more shallow, and the intestines and esophageal sphincter are displaced causing esophageal reflux and complaints of heartburn, particularly when sleeping on their back.”


In Hayley’s case, her dreams became increasingly frightening as her pregnancy developed. She told us, “I had a lot of dreams that I left the baby. Or that I put the baby in a dangerous situation. Plus, my dreams became extremely vivid. Right from the start my dreams were crisp, colorful and realistic.” Hayley’s experience exemplifies another finding by Dr. Lee, that 72% experienced frightening dreams or nightmares.

Second Trimester Survival Tips

  • In order to avoid heartburn, do not eat large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried foods. If heartburn is a problem, sleep with your head elevated on pillows. Also, eat frequent small meals throughout the day.
  • Enjoy your 2nd trimester and better sleep — but keep sleeping. Get as close to eight hours a night as possible.
  • When sleeping, lie on your side with your knees and hips bent. Place pillows between your knees, under your abdomen and behind your back. This may take pressure off your lower back.
  • If nightmares or disturbing dreams are causing you distress, you may find it helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor.