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Why is my baby most active while I’m trying to sleep?
Q: Why is it that every time I try to lay down and get a good night’s sleep, my baby is the most active? I’m halfway through my sixth month of pregnancy, and what were once gentle kicks are now more like body blows! How can I communicate to my baby that mummy needs her rest?
A: Dear Sleep-Deprived,

Your baby is probably active throughout the day. It is very common to be most aware of fetal movement during the night when our own lives are calm and we are lying quietly in bed. Presumably, this is because we are more distracted during daytime hours while we are busy moving, talking, working and focusing on the world around us. Unborn babies have their own sleep cycles, but I know of no way to control when or how a baby moves without taking drugs (which is certainly not recommended). In fact, fetal movement is considered a sign of fetal health. So, even though losing sleep is annoying, you should be reassured that your baby is vigorous and healthy. In some ways, the sleep interruptions you experience now may be nature’s way of preparing you for your baby’s sleep and wake patterns after the delivery.

Exercising during the day may increase your ability to sleep more deeply at night (and be less disturbed by your baby’s movement while you sleep.) Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening (they can stimulate babies, too!), and spend a little time meditating or listening to music as your prepare for slumber.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist