Sleep can be challenging and disrupted during hapūtanga. Creating a relaxing environment, a good routine, and finding support from whānau, health professionals and other supporters will ensure māmā and pregnant people still get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep disturbances during pregnancy are very common, which is frustrating and all the more exhausting while preparing for birth, working or caring for other tamariki while feeling pretty tired throughout the day.

Side sleeping during the last trimester

Te Whatu Ora recommends side sleeping from week 28 of pregnancy to support oxygen supply for pēpi because it both increases the likelihood of a healthy birthweight and reduces the risk of stillbirth.

Settling to sleep on the side is often more comfortable, remembering either side is fine, just whichever is most comfortable. Placing a pillow between the legs can support this side sleeping position. Some people may move about during sleep, and wake up on their back. This is normal – simply move back to the side sleeping position to resettle.

During pregnancy | Te Whatu Ora(external link)

Sleep on Side campaign and website (external link)

Cure Kids Sleep On Side Campaign (transcript)

Ideas to support sleep while hapū

Establish a good routine

Try to go to bed at a similar time each night, and wake at a similar time each day. This supports rhythm across the day and between awake and sleep time.

Include gentle exercise during the day to support relaxation, healthy habits and tire the body to prepare for sleep.

Create a relaxing environment

Keep the room cool, dark and quiet. Reading before bedtime, rather than using a device, supports better sleep too.

Puku (stomach) breathing, and meditation are also useful to support relaxation.

Find support with any health concerns

Worries about health can prevent winding down for bed. Whānau workers, midwives and other health professionals can provide excellent guidance around good kai choices to ensure the body and puku are settled at night time to ease any worrying aches or birth worries. 

Sometimes it can be useful to talk about overall health and wellbeing using models such as Te Whare Tapa Whā.

How Te Whare Tapa Wha supports wellbeing

Ease other stress

Talk about and find support for any other stress that isn’t supporting quality sleep. There are organisations that can provide really great support to help with financial or relationship stress.

Sometimes worries can seem heightened while pregnant. Encourage whānau to kōrero with friends, whānau and trusted kaimahi to help manage anything that feels stressful or overwhelming.

Managing stress during pregnancy

Conversation ideas

How are your sleeping patterns?
What helps you to sleep well?
Tell me about your general daily routine?
Have you always found sleeping tricky, or only while hapū?
What things do you do when you can’t sleep?
In a perfect world how much sleep would you like to get? How might we support that?

Helpful resources for whānau