As your pregnancy progresses, you will notice that sleeping comfortably can be next to impossible.
Some positions are more comfortable than others, but some are also dangerous for your growing baby.
Sleep on your left side
According to medical experts, sleeping on your left side while you’re pregnant is the best sleeping position for your baby. This improves blood flow, and makes sure that nutrients are better able to get to the placenta.
Sleeping in this position also helps your kidneys efficiently eliminate waste products and fluids from your body, which then reduces swelling in your hands, feet and ankles.
It’s a good idea to start training yourself early on in pregnancy to sleep on your left side whenever you can. Sleeping on one side the entire night will obviously not be easy, which is why switching from side to side, while favouring your left side is the best sleeping strategy.
Avoid sleeping on your back at all costs throughout pregnancy, especially in the later months. Sleeping on your back makes the weight of the uterus fall on the spine, back muscles, intestines and major blood vessels.
This can result in muscle aches and pain, haemorrhoids and impaired circulation, which will definitely be uncomfortable for you and can reduce circulation to your baby.
Sleeping on your back can also make your blood pressure drop, and some expectant moms can experience dizziness as a result. In other moms it can make their blood pressure go up.
Sleeping on your back can also cause snoring, and with increased weight, it can lead to sleep apnea – which can be very dangerous.
Sleeping on your stomach
“There’s no problem lying on your stomach in early pregnancy. At this point, your uterus is still nestled behind your pubic bone, so it’s totally protected,” says Catherine Lynch, an ob-gyn.
“Later in your pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach just isn’t going to be comfortable. You’d be too uncomfortable to want to do it long before you could ever hurt your baby,” adds Lynch.
Russell Turk, an obstetrician reiterates.
He says that while sleeping on your left side is recommended, you can also safely sleep on your stomach. “A main concern is the weight of your enlarging uterus pushing down directly on the large veins that return blood to your heart. The most notable effects occur when women lie flat on their back. If you experience such problems as shortness of breath or heartburn, especially in the third trimester, propping yourself up with pillows may be helpful.”
Drink less before bed time
Pregnancy results in frequent visits to the toilet. All these trips to the bathroom will definitely affect your sleep. Try and stop or slow down your fluid intake in the evening before bed. Also limit caffeinated drinks the entire day, especially in the afternoon and evening hours. Eating a large meal before bedtime can also cause digestive problems, which can ultimately make sleeping very uncomfortable.
- If you suffer from heartburn or breathlessness, then try prop your upper body with some pillows.
- Reclining chairs tend to be well padded and comfortable. These will help to keep you tilted at an angle that will prevent heartburn.
- In your third trimester, wear a sleeping bra and a maternity belt to give extra support to your breasts, belly and back.
- Place a pillow between your knees. Arrange other pillows under your belly and behind your back for extra comfort and support.
- Regular pillows may work just fine for you, but there are pillows specifically for pregnant women that come in varying shapes and sizes.
- A foam egg-crate pad on the bed adds a layer of cushion that some pregnant women find comfortable.
- Pregnancy wedges can also be used to help support your belly when you sleep on your side.
- Wear comfortable clothing when going to bed, and concentrate on sleep. A heating pad placed on your back will provide some much needed relief.
- Place a pillow directly under your growing abdomen if the weight of the baby begins to pull your middle spine.
- Use a full, firm pillow under your head to keep your neck aligned with your spine and provide support for your shoulders.
- Wear a maternity belt or for added back support. A maternity belt or other abdominal support will help keep your back strong during the day too.
Also remember to create a sleep routine in the evening to improve your ability to fall asleep.
Drinking hot milk, tea or taking a bubble bath are great ways to help relax before bed. Remember not to bath in very hot water though, as this can hurt the baby.