Sleeping comfortably and safely while pregnant becomes increasingly difficult as time goes on. Discovering which sleeping positions are optimal for your pregnancy needs can be a very arduous task.
To determine the best sleeping positions, we’ve listed the safety issues surrounding certain sleeping positions as well as some sleeping tips to help fall asleep comfortably, knowing your baby is safe.
Unsafe Sleeping Positions
Pregnancy causes a variety of mental and physical changes to women. These changes lead to disruptions to a woman’s waking hours as well as her typical sleeping routine. Unfortunately, after the first few months of pregnancy, the back and stomach positions, which are most women’s favorite - become a bad idea. Here’s why:
Sleeping On Your Back
It’s not recommended for pregnant women to sleep on their backs. It can lead to breathing problems, and also cause stomach issues due to increased pressure on your intestines.
WebMD warns that this position causes an excessive amount of pressure on the aorta and inferior vena cava, which are the blood vessels that pass behind the uterus and transport blood to the heart from both the feet and the legs. This increase in pressure on these particular vessels causes lower blood circulation to both the mother’s body and to the baby.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
As your pregnancy progresses, sleeping on your stomach becomes virtually unfeasible as your growing fetus will prevent you from being comfortable and your breasts will likely experience great discomfort. Further, the amount of weight this position puts on your stomach is not healthy for yourself or the baby.
Best ways to sleep
It’s recommended that pregnant women sleep on their sides, the left side in particular. The side sleeping position offers maximum comfort for both the mother and the baby.
Sleeping specifically on the left side allows for better circulation, meaning that healthy, nutrient-dense blood can reach the placenta from the woman’s heart, giving the baby the sustenance that’s needed. The left side sleeping position also prevents the woman’s growing abdomen from putting too much pressure on her liver.
Tips on Sleeping Comfortably
While side sleeping is said to be the most comfortable position, there’s no doubt you will find yourself tossing and turning throughout your pregnancy. Here are some tips to maximize your comfort and minimize your frustration during your pregnancy.
- Propping a pillow underneath a woman’s body and between her legs can add comfort during pregnancy. Using a regular or special pregnancy pillows can assist the woman in remaining on her side and preventing accidental rolling over during her sleep. The American Pregnancy Association remarks that if a woman is suffering from shortness of breath, a pillow can be placed under her chest to cause her chest to rise.
- Pregnancy can lead to stomach acids burning up the digestive tract and reaching a woman’s esophagus. This can cause heartburn and general discomfort. Using some books or blocks to prop up the head of the bed a bit can help to reduce these uncomfortable bodily reactions to pregnancy.
- Women should allow your bodies to sleep and change positions without interfering with your natural sleep cycles. Intentionally waking yourself up frequently to ensure that you are sleeping in the best position won’t help in the long run. It’s best to get as much sleep as possible for both yourself and the baby.
- It’s recommended to restrict sizable meals right before bed, as this will decrease the chance of heartburn. Pregnant women should also use the bathroom just before bed to empty their bladders, as this decreases the number of times you’ll need to wake up in the middle of the night to pee.
- Sleeping during pregnancy can be improved by maintaining a dark bedroom, with a mildly cool airflow and using sheets that breathe well, such as cotton.
- Pregnant women should find ways to shut off their minds just as they’re going to bed. Activities, which could fulfill this purpose include doing some light reading, or having a nice shower.
- If a pregnant woman is still finding trouble with sleeping well, she should speak with a healthcare provider. Providers can give reassuring and beneficial information.
Finding the best positions and advice for sleeping while pregnant can be a real hassle. Pregnant women should try to sleep on their sides, and avoid sleeping on their backs or stomachs, especially as the pregnancy moves past the first trimester.
Setting up the bed, the room, and doing preventative actions like avoiding big meals and using the bathroom just before bed can also dramatically improve their sleeping experience during pregnancy.
Do you have any tips & tricks to share about your best pregnancy sleep! Let us know in the comments!