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The best sleeping positions forpregnancy

The best sleeping positions for pregnancy

Great news – there is a list of the best sleeping positions for pregnancy. Yes, the do’s and don’ts list that most pregnant women adhere to can be overwhelming. Preggos avoid certain delicious foods, Certain strenuous activities, and of course, certain sleeping positions. 

As your belly grows, the way you sleep affects the health of you and your baby. But there are great sleep positions you can try to improve your evening rest. 

According to Healthline, doctors recommend sleeping on your left side. Why? Increased blood flow to the fetus and your extremities. As the foetus grows, so can the compression of blood flow to your uterus. 

Lying on your left will help keep the uterus off your liver. Sleeping on the left side also improves blood flow to the heart, and allows for the best circulation of blood to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys, explains Kid’s Health. 

During a Caesarean delivery, doctors still tilt patients onto their side or when they are in labour with abnormal heart rhythms. 

Don’t sleep on your back! 

Certain medical studies suggest that sleeping on your back is a risk. From around 20 weeks, when you lie belly-up, the weight of your pregnant uterus will compress the major blood vessel, the vena cava. The weight can disrupt the blood flow to your baby and leaves you nauseated, dizzy, and short of breath.

Because of this, sleeping on your left side is referred to as the ideal position. It allows for optimal blood flow from the inferior vena cava. It is a large vein that runs parallel to your spine on the right side and movies blood to your heart and to your baby.

Sleeping on your left side takes the pressure off your liver and kidneys. It allows room to function and helps to swell in your hands, ankles and feet.

Right side

The right side is also fine to sleep on. A 2019 medical study stated that sleeping on your right side is equally safe. However, when you sleep on your right side, there is a slight risk of compression issues with the inferior vena cava. It is mostly because of discomfort. 

Stomach sleeping

Stomach sleeping is possible until you reach 16 to 18 weeks. This position is less desirable as your bump grows. If you are concerned, the uterine walls and amniotic fluid protects your baby from being squashed. But, you will most likely be very uncomfortable – and strain your muscles. 

A stomach sleeping pillow makes this position more comfortable. Some are inflatable, and others are firm with a large cut out for your belly. 

Back sleeping

Back sleeping is considered safe in your first trimester. Stillbirth is linked to some studies about sleeping on your back. You can’t completely dismiss the studies. Not sleeping on your back may lower your risk of stillbirth after 28 weeks by 5.8%.

Sleeping on your back comes with other issues. It may contribute to back pain, haemorrhoids, digestive issues and poor circulation. You can feel lightheaded or dizzy. 

If you wake up and you are sleeping on your back, it’s a good idea to try another position. However, if you are a solid back sleeper, place a wedge under you. That angle allows blood to still flow and nourish your baby. 

Ways to make side sleeping work

Sleeping in any position is fine in your first trimester – this all depends on your unique pregnancy and bodily changes. You and your gynaecologist can discuss your symptoms and condition and decide which positions you should try. If you want to favour a side, sleep with a pillow between your legs. It may ease the discomfort in your hips and lower body. You can consider an orthopaedic knee pillow, which is made of memory foam.

A firm bed assists your growing belly in your second trimester. It ensures that your back does not sag. If your bed is too soft, slip a board between your mattress and box spring. A pregnancy pillow wraps around your body as you lay on your side and is found in U or C shapes. The pillow is best positioned running along your back while you hug the front and slip it between your knees.

A pregnancy pillow is useful in your third trimester. Wedge pillows may help too. You can still place them under your bellow and behind your back. 

Figure out your main priorities

In pregnancy, however, your best sleeping positions are not your main concern. There are definitely other priorities on your list that take first preference. Rest. Yes, rest is important. Sleep is the natural resting state in which the body is inactive, but rest is actual conscious relaxation – the state of being free from tension and anxiety.

Doctors recommend rest – whether it is on your right or left side. Pillow props, as you may have read, is the most efficient for comfort – especially at a 45-degree angle. If the pillows don’t work, elevate the head of your bed with books or blocks. 

Most importantly, before your baby is born, sleep as much as possible and rest often. If you have other questions about sleeping positions, consult with your doctor. 

Trouble sleeping is normal in pregnancy! 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a survey found that around 78% of women have more trouble sleeping in pregnancy, and 15% experience restless leg syndrome during trimester three.

Many women complain of fatigue during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. As the progesterone levels rapidly increase, the fatigue intensifies. Sleep deprivation can worsen -paired with the exhausting task of carrying around extra water weight and general pregnancy weight gain.

If you are having trouble sleeping during pregnancy, make sure to consult a medical professional before taking any medications. Pregnant women should also be wary of strenuous exercises, diet changes, and anything else believed to be sleep-inducing.         


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