Pregnant and having trouble sleeping

There can be many causes for an interrupted nights sleep while pregnant such as trips to the bathroom, raised body temperature and difficulty getting comfortable in bed. Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PRPGP) is a common complaint during pregnancy. It occurs when the hormone relaxin affects the tissues surrounding the pelvis making them looser. This is necessary to allow the baby room to grow as the pregnancy develops. However, this can affect the pelvic alignment and cause the mother discomfort during the day as well as interrupting sleep. Gravity pulling the growing baby bump can also cause discomfort.
Having proper support at night can help alleviate some of these symptoms.
• The head and neck should be supported by a pillow that holds them in line with the rest of the spine.
• The bump can rest a rolled up towel or on a pillow (e.g Comfortable U pillow which is a total body pillow)
• Place a pillow between the knees and ankles to maintain good postural alignment of the pelvis and relieving pelvic discomfort (UltimateSkies Pregnancy pillow)

During the day, try to avoid the following to prevent further aggravation of the condition.
• Single leg activities including standing on one leg or sitting with crossed legs
• Wide leg movements such as getting in/ out of a car (imagine you are wearing a mini skirt instead!)
• High impact activities such as running or jumping
• Long walks
• Breast stroke legs while swimming
• Carrying heavy loads eg shopping bags on one side

Instead, try to introduce good habits such as:
• Standing / sitting evenly on both feet or sitting bones
• Keep hip movements small and narrow
• Swimming (parallel legs) or seated cycling can be great cardio options
• Carry loads evenly between both sides
• Incorporating rest periods each day
• Taking smaller steps when walking
If the symptoms persist, a women’s health physiotherapist can help guide you in finding
• suitable support garments  or belts that offload the pelvic joints
• specialist support pillows that can help maintain good postural alignment and to alleviate discomfort during and after pregnancy
• safe stretches and exercises to build into your daily routine.

Written by Shira Kramer and Tara Murtagh. Women’s Health Physiotherapists.
BeActive Physio www.beactivephysio.com  1300 550 622