Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant can prove to be challenging with your belly getting in the way. Your body is going through a lot of changes which can interrupt your normal rest. Most pregnant women complain of having poor quality sleep during this period.
As your belly grows bigger, it becomes harder and harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in and coupled with hormonal changes which can trigger insomnia, you will have some general discomfort like recurring heartburn and tiny bladder. Your regular sleeping position may not be suitable especially if you like sleeping on your stomach or back. If you normally sleep on your back, it would be advisable to adopt a new sleeping position after 20 weeks because this sleeping position will become very uncomfortable. At this point, it’s time to try out a new and better sleeping position that will help you get the much-needed rest you need.
However, there are some sleeping positions that can accommodate your growing belly to give you a well-deserved rest.
Sleeping positions when pregnant
Sleeping on your backside
After your fifth month, lying on your back isn’t the best sleeping position. Lying with your belly facing up puts a lot of pressure on your uterus which compresses the aorta and vena cava, major blood vessels, disrupting blood flow to you and your baby leaving you dizzy, short of breath, and nauseated. It will also make it harder for you to breathe properly and you might also have stomach problems because your belly is pushing down your small intestines.
With this kind of pressure, it can cause back pains and hemorrhoids which will interfere with the circulation with the possibility of low blood pressure making you feel dizzy. With less than enough circulation, there is reduced blood flow to the fetus so your baby doesn’t get enough nutrients or oxygen. The bottom line is, it’s not safe to sleep on your back. Not very many people sleep on one position the whole night no matter your best intentions. If you accidentally wake up and find yourself on your back, just change your sleeping position and go back to sleep.
Sleeping on your left side
The best sleeping position during your pregnancy is your left side. On your second and third trimester, sleeping on your left side helps to increase the amount of blood flow and nourishment to the placenta and your baby. It also prevents your increasing body weight from putting too much pressure on your liver allowing proper passage of waste products reducing chances of your hands, feet, and ankles from swelling.
Sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is not a good idea. It’s not only an impossible position to sleep in, but it’s also a difficult position if you’re farther along in your pregnancy. The physical changes your abdomen goes through puts a lot of pressure on your expanding uterus and also makes it uncomfortable for your growing breasts.
Tips to help you get comfortable sleeping on your left side
- Keep your legs and knees bent so that you don’t overwork your heart. To help you adjust to sleeping on your side, try using pillows to support different parts of your body. You can place a pillow between your knees and another below your hips to give you more balance on your side to prevent you from rolling over on your back. You can also try placing a full-body pillow in front, at the back, or use a wedge-shaped pillow under your chest or side.
- Getting the right mattress will help you avoid getting aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, lower back, and other parts of your body. A comfortable, firm costco mattress with multiple firmness options will help support your spine, midsection, and other sensitive parts of your body. This will prevent back and hip pains and provide pressure relief.
- In case you experience heartburn during the night, you can use a pillow to raise your head and your upper body a few inches or avoid certain foods that trigger your heartburn. This will prevent stomach acids from burning their way up your esophagus. This is caused by the high amounts of progesterone in your body that sips through to your esophagus.
- Late in your pregnancy, you might experience shortness of breath, prop yourself by placing a pillow on your side to raise your chest.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping or experiencing sleepless nights, reading something boring can help distract your mind which will put you to sleep. Sleep is important for you and your growing baby and getting the 8 hours required rest will help relieve stress and improve circulation.
These tips may not seem very comfortable, especially if sleeping on your side isn’t your normal sleeping position, but it’s good that you try them. It’s not a must you sleep on one side the whole night, you can rotate on the other side.
Relationship between your sleeping position and stillbirth
According to studies done, pregnant women who sleep on their backs when on their third trimester put a lot of undue pressure on their fetus which can increase your chances of having a stillbirth. However, this isn’t a great concern because a majority of the pregnant women are at low risk of having a stillbirth, but can relate to sleeping on their backs once in a while during their pregnancy. You shouldn’t be alarmed if you wake up on your side, what matters is the side you went to sleep in because that’s the side that you spent most of your time on.
During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes from physical to emotional which can be overwhelming. One of the major lifestyle changes is your sleeping habits. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your first or third trimester, you need to sleep in the best position for you and your baby to help you have a smooth pregnancy. This will also help you avoid body aches and other serious issues along the way.