Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy – Now that you need a good night’s sleep more than ever, it’s sadly harder to get it. Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be tricky with your growing belly, and not all functions work during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know to stay relaxed and safe.
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Why is it so Important to Sleep During Pregnancy?
Sleep is when your body resets and maintenances itself. It’s when your brain creates memories, making it an ally in your fight against the baby’s brain. Also, it is how your blood vessels heal, which is especially important now that they are under increased pressure from the extra blood flow needed to support your baby.
Sleep also keeps your immune system suppressed to support your pregnancy and health. And sleep controls how your body responds to insulin; not getting enough results in higher blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of gestational diabetes.
What is the Best Position to Sleep During Pregnancy?
Experts have traditionally said that the best sleeping position during pregnancy is on the left side, although the right is also perfectly acceptable. After your first trimester, it becomes impossible to lie on your stomach for obvious reasons.
Many experts also recommend avoiding lying on your back all night (but don’t worry if you toss and turn at night and wake up like this).
However, some experts now say pregnant women can sleep in any position that suits them instead of worrying too much about it.
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Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
Sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy
If your favourite position is on your stomach, that’s fine until your baby’s tummy makes it uncomfortable or impossible, in which case you’ll need to change jobs.
Sleeping on your Back During Pregnancy
Some experts recommend that pregnant women avoid sleeping on their backs during the second and third trimesters. Why? The prone sleeping position rests the total weight of your growing uterus and baby on your back, intestines, and vena cava, the central vein that carries blood to your heart from your lower body.
This pressure can aggravate back pain and haemorrhoids, make digestion less efficient, interfere with circulation, and possibly cause hypotension (low blood pressure), making you dizzy.
However, don’t worry if you wake up to find also that you’ve rolled onto your back during the night.
Sleeping on the Left or Right Side During Pregnancy
During the second and third trimesters, some specialists believe sleeping on either side, preferably the left side if possible, is ideal for you and your unborn baby.
This position allows maximum blood and nutrient flow to the placenta (meaning less pressure on the vena cava). It improves kidney function, which means better waste removal and less swelling in the feet, ankles, and hands.
Tips for Comfortable Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
Not used to lying on your side? Or have you always slept on your side but can’t rest now that you’re expecting? Here are some tips to solve sleep problems during pregnancy and ensure that you sleep comfortably in the lateral position:
Use lots of pillows. Try crossing one leg over the other and putting a buffer between them and another pillow behind your back or any combination that helps you sleep.
Get a unique pillow. For additional support, try using a wedge or 5-foot pregnancy pillow.
Propel you. If pillows don’t help, try sleeping in a semi-upright position in a recliner (if you have one) instead of the bed.
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