During pregnancy, sleep can become uncomfortable. Using the proper sleeping positions to support your body will help you wake up refreshed. Many women find that as their belly grows it becomes more difficult to find a sleep position that doesn’t cause a backache, difficulty breathing or heartburn. The following looks at which sleep positions are best for you and your baby and which ones should be avoided.
Side Sleeping is Best:
After about the fifth month of pregnancy, you should try to sleep on your side. While either side is okay, experts advise that the left side is preferable. This encourages circulation to the heart and placenta and prevents your body weight from pressing down on your liver.
How to Make Yourself More Comfortable:
To improve the quality of your sleep, try the following tips to help make both you and baby more comfortable:
- Try placing a pillow between your knees or under your tummy for extra back support. You may find an extra-long pillow to be the most comfortable, but any pillow will work. You can also wedge a pillow under your body to keep yourself from rolling onto your back or stomach during sleep.
- If you suffer from nighttime heartburn, you should try elevating the head of your bed using wooden blocks or some old books. This will prevent stomach acid from working its way up into your esophagus.
- If you have difficulty breathing, try putting a pillow under your chest.
Sleep Positions You Should Avoid:
As your abdomen expands during pregnancy, certain sleeping positions not only become uncomfortable, they can also be dangerous:
- Sleeping on your back: Sleeping in this position can impair circulation for both you and your baby. When you sleep on your back, the weight of the baby puts pressure on your inferior vena cava and aorta, which are responsible for carrying blood back to your heart from your lower extremities. This can lead to erratic changes in blood pressure. This position also increases pressure on the intestines, which can increase gastric reflux symptoms. Many women also find it harder to breathe when they sleep on their backs. It can even lead to sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing for short periods of time, as you gain weight. Pregnant women who sleep on their backs are also more prone to hemorrhoids, swelling and muscle aches and pains.
- Sleeping on your stomach: This position can become almost logistically impossible as your belly and breasts grow during pregnancy. It also causes your stomach to put extra pressure on your uterus and breasts.
You shouldn’t worry if you roll from side to side or front to back during sleep. Your body will naturally find a position that is most comfortable for you and baby at the moment. Sleeping in any position you find comfortable is much better that constantly waking yourself up and fretting about your sleep position. After all, you need to rest as much as possible now to prepare for those middle of the night feedings.