During pregnancy finding a comfortable position to sleep in bed can be a challenging task for expecting mothers. You may realize that the positions in which you have regularly slept before pregnancy are no longer comfortable enough to give you a restful sleep. The discomfort encountered during sleep can be due to many reasons; however, there are certain sleeping positions that you may find to give you a more restful sleep. Read on to learn about the best and worst sleeping positions during pregnancy.
Why Is Sleeping Position Important During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy brings with itself a lot of changes in a woman’s body. These changes may disrupt your usual peaceful sleep. You may experience fatigue, back pain, restless sleep, and difficulty in sleeping and breathing. All of these problems are further exacerbated by the wrong sleeping position. You can make a few simple changes while positioning your body in bed and you will experience relief from symptoms of back pain and fatigue and your sleep will get improved.
1. Sleeping on Your Side
During the early months of pregnancy, sleeping on your side is a good habit. The most comfortable position for you is to sleep on your side with your knees bent as your pregnancy progresses. In this position, your baby’s weight will not apply pressure to the large vein (inferior vena cava)that transports blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart, thereby, making the job of your heart easier.
2. Sleeping on Your Left Side
It is recommended by some doctors that pregnant females should sleep on their left side. This is because liver lies on the right side of your body and sleeping on your left side will ensure that the pressure from your growing uterus is not applied to the liver. The circulation to the heart is also improved, ensuring that the blood flow to the uterus, fetus and kidneys is also optimal. Do as your physician recommends, as lying on either side can be comfortable for you as it takes the pressure off your back.
However, don’t worry too much about shifting positions at night. It is a natural part of sleep to shift positions. Moreover, most likely during the later months of pregnancy you won’t be able to sleep on your back as it becomes too uncomfortable.
In case you tend to shift on your back while sleeping, the weight of your baby will put pressure on the inferior vena cava, and you will most probably wake up by the discomfort. Your doctor may suggest you to use a pillow so as to keep yourself propped up on either side.
Experiment with a Pillow
Experiment with pillows so as to find a comfortable sleeping position for yourself. Some females find it comfortable to place a pillow under their stomach or in between their legs. You can also place a rolled-up blanket or towel at the small of your back so as to relieve some pressure off your back. There are many ‘pregnancy pillows’ available in the market. Consult your doctor before buying one for yourself.
Worst Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
1. Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back may lead to numerous problems including pain in back, difficulty in breathing, digestive problems, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and reduced blood circulation to your heart and your baby. These problems occur because your abdomen rests on your intestines and major blood vessels such as the aorta and the vena cava when you sleep on your back.
2. Sleeping on Your Abdomen
During the later months of pregnancy, physical changes occur in your abdomen, which makes it difficult for you to lie on your stomach or abdomen.
Watch the following videos to learn comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy:
More Tips on Better Sleep During Pregnancy
Although the over-the-counter sleeping aids, including the herbal varieties, may seem tempting when you are desperate to get some sleep; still, you should know that any of these sleeping aids are not recommended to be taken during pregnancy. Instead the following tips will help you get a good night’s sleep even during pregnancy:
- Restrict the intake of caffeinated drinks and beverages such as coffee, tea and soda to morning or early afternoon.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking lots of fluids within a few hours of sleeping. It is helpful to eat more at breakfast and lunch and then keep the dinner light. If you are suffering from nausea, you can eat a few crackers before sleeping.
- Set a routine of sleeping and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Do not do rigorous work outs within a couple of hours of sleeping. Instead follow relaxing routines such as taking a warm bath, or drinking a glass of warm milk or a cup of herbal tree (caffeine free).
- Ensure that you are getting appropriate amounts of calcium in your diet to reduce the chances of occurrence of leg cramps. If leg cramps do wake you up at night, you may feel better by pressing the leg hard against the wall or to stand erect on that leg.
- Join yoga classes or try any other relaxation techniques to help you deal with the stress of a busy life. However, you should always consult your physician before beginning any new activity or exercise regimen.
- If you feel that you are awake due to fear and anxiety of pregnancy and the upcoming delivery, think about enrolling in a parenting or childbirth class. It will have two benefits-you will get more knowledge and also the company of other pregnant mothers. Both of these factors will help relieve your fears and anxiety that are making you restless and keeping you awake at night.