Why is the best sleeping position so important during pregnancy?
Sleep is the time when your body rests and repairs itself. It’s when your brain creates memories, making it an ally in your battle against the baby’s brain. This 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 healthy, which is suppressed to support your pregnancy. And sleep controls how your body reacts to insulin; not getting enough results in higher blood sugar, increasing your risk of gestational diabetes.
The best sleeping position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleeping on your side) because it provides the best circulation for you and your baby. It also puts the least pressure on veins and internal organs. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the placenta and your baby. Also, good circulation helps reduce possible swelling, varicose veins in the legs, and haemorrhoids.
Is not getting enough sleep bad for me or my baby?
The vast majority of women have some trouble sleeping, so try not to stress if you are not sleeping as well as you were before the pregnancy. That said, research has shown that women who stay in bed chronically for less than six hours a night may have longer labour and are more likely to need C-sections.
Untreated sleep apnea, in which breathing is frequently interrupted at night and leading to poor sleep and nocturnal awakening, has been linked to pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, and low birth weight. If you think you may have this condition, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Not sure if you are getting enough sleep? The best way to judge is not by how many hours you spend lying in bed, but by how you feel. If you find that you are not sleeping and are chronically tired, beyond normal pregnancy fatigue, you are not getting enough sleep.
If you think lack of sleep is becoming a problem, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you find the root of your problem and the solutions to get the rest you need.
How can I sleep more comfortably during pregnancy?
Keep your legs and knees bent, and place a pillow between your legs to relieve tension on your back.
If you find that you have problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
If you have heartburn at night, you can try supporting your upper body with pillows.
In late pregnancy, you may experience shortness of breath. Try lying on your side or propped up on pillows.
These suggestions may not seem completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but give them a try. You may find that they work. Note that you may not stay in one position overnight, and rotating positions are fine.
What sleeping positions during pregnancy should I avoid?
Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with back pain, breathing, digestive system, haemorrhoids, low blood pressure, and cause decreased circulation to your heart and your baby. This is the result of your growing abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava). You can also develop sleep apnea as you gain weight.
Sleeping on your stomach: Later in your pregnancy, your breasts become more sensitive and your abdomen continues to grow, making sleeping on your stomach uncomfortable. Using a doughnut-shaped pillow (with a hole in the middle) can help you sleep comfortably on your stomach.
Reasons for your discomfort may include:
During pregnancy, you may find yourself struggling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. When you are pregnant, your body goes through a variety of changes that make your usual sleeping positions no longer work for you.
- Increase in the size of the abdomen.
- Back pain
- Difficulty breathing
More steps to best sleeping position during pregnancy
- Limit caffeine. Try not to drink caffeinated coffee or tea after 3 p.m.
- Drink a lot of water. Drink plenty of water during the day, but limit your intake to a couple of hours before bed so you don’t have to wake up and go to the bathroom.
- Exercise for 30 minutes. Exercise helps you sleep better, but don’t do it within four hours of bedtime.
- Relaxing activities. A warm bath, foot or shoulder massage will help you relax.
- Quiet bedroom. Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool at night will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.