5 Steps to Better Sleep During Pregnancy

It is natural for mothers to expect sleepless nights after the baby arrives, but there is often little preparation for the sleeplessness that comes with pregnancy. Pregnant mothers frequently find themselves incapable of getting quality sleep, which leaves them feeling fatigued and frustrated. Lack of sleep can have adverse effects on the body and mind and in some cases, cause complications. Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder during pregnancy can be managed with the guidance of your doctor. It may also be helpful to try these 5 tips to improve your quality of sleep:

  1. Find A Comfortable Sleeping Position 

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be challenging as you adjust to your growing bump. You can opt for a pillow between your knees and try out a few recommended positions to see what is comfortable for you. Make sure to keep your hands above the belly to avoid cramping.

  1. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene 

Sleep hygiene refers to building habits that ensure you have good quality sleep.

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and schedule naps earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with nighttime sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom and try to read a book, take a bath, or indulge in other calming activities.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  1. Good Nutrition Goes a Long Way

During gestation, your digestive system slows down. You might have to deal with issues such as heartburn, constipation, or indigestion. Healthy digestion can help get a good night’s sleep.

Keep in mind the following things…

  • Cut down on caffeine; not only is it a stimulant that disrupts sleep but is also harmful to your baby.
  • Avoid spicy foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits that can cause acid reflux.
  • Have small meals throughout the day to avoid feeling bloated.
  • Do not eat three to four hours before bedtime.
  • Take plenty of fluids throughout the day but reduce intake before bedtime.
  1. Breathe 

Breathing exercises will help you sleep through the night.

  • Use humidifiers; they help ease nasal congestion.
  • If you suffer from sleep apnea, consider using a CPAP machine, if your physician prescribes it.
  • Sleep in an inclined position by raising the height of the pillow.
  1. Keep Cramps at Bay

Though leg cramps or restless leg syndrome is hard to prevent, there are ways to soothe cramps

  • Exercise during the daytime.
  • Include calcium-rich foods.
  • Indulge in soothing massage and leg stretches before hitting the bed.

Continued or chronic loss of sleep can lead to gestational diabetes, stress, and depression. If the sleep disorders are difficult to manage, check in with your doctor or childbirth educator at your next prenatal appointment. Have a positive mindset and try meditation and calming activities to keep stress at bay.

Low Cost and Lifesaving

Kangaroo Mother Care at Fernandez Hospital

A nurse helping a mother with Kangaroo mother care (KMC)


Kangaroo mother care (KMC) involves early continuous, and prolonged skin–to–skin contact between a mother and her newborn. The kangaroo pose consists of skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between the mother and the neonate in a vertical position, between the mother’s breasts and under her clothes. It has been proven scientifically that KMC significantly improves the survival in low birth weight (LBW) infants, reduces the risk of severe blood infections, decreases the length of hospital stay, improves breastfeeding, and leads to better physical and brain growth of the baby apart from psychological healing to the mother. Hence, KMC is now considered as the standard of care for low birth weight (LBW) and very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates in all socio-economic settings. 


A father giving KMC to a low-birth-weight infant


KMC at Fernandez Hospital

In 2004 Fernandez Hospital introduced a KMC ward. It was started initially at the Boggulakunta unit and later initiated in the other units. At Fernandez Hospital, KMC commences for the VLBW neonate as early as possible, right in the NICU, once the babies are clinically stable and the mother is comfortable. In the absence of a mother, foster KMC is encouraged by other family members. Once the babies are stable, they are transferred to a dedicated KMC ward for continuous KMC. KMC wards attached to the NICUs mimic the home-like environment for the mother-infant and are, in general, low on gadgets and technology. 


In the KMC ward, mothers are supported by nurses and nursing aides, but primarily the babies are taken care of by their mothers. This facilitates empowering the mother to care for her baby and allows an early discharge from the health facility. KMC also provides the best developmentally supportive care possible to the neonate and alleviates fear and anxiety in the mother and other caregivers in taking care of these tiny infants. The mothers are encouraged to continue KMC at home.


In our initial study, we looked at the feasibility of caring for stable VLBW neonates on full oral feeds in the KMC ward instead of conventional NICU. The study found that KMC ward care is safe, and neonates had similar growth patterns. It decreased the length of NICU by two weeks. Another study published by Fernandez Hospital showed that stable VLBW infants can be shifted to the KMC ward even at 1100 grams. They had better weight gain, reduced NICU, and hospital stay, with a significant cost reduction of almost 35000 INR per baby (500 USD). The effect was consistent even in extremely low birth weight babies. Around 2000 VLBW neonates have benefitted from the KMC since its inception at Fernandez Hospital.