Pregnancy is a beautiful chapter in a woman’s life. But, some experiences in this miraculous journey, however, are not so fun. One of these is the struggle to find a comfortable position to sleep. Your pre-pregnancy sleeping position has gone for a toss, and now you find yourself tossing and turning restlessly in bed while periodically throwing a death glare at your man for daring to sleep oh–so peacefully.
The worst part? Pregnancy can wear you out. Especially during the first trimester, mommies-to-be need more sleep than they did before. But, pregnancy-related symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, midnight urges to go to the toilet, restless leg syndrome, and ingestion can all make the endeavor rather difficult.
But, rest assured mommy, we got your back! Here are the perfect sleeping positions as well as some lifestyle tweaks that can ease your night time frustrations and have you sleeping like a carefree baby (like the cute one in your tummy).
Best Sleeping Positions While You’re Pregnant
1. SOS: Sleep On The Side!
This is the prefect position for pregnant women to sleep in. But it is even better to sleep on your left side. If you’re sleeping on your right side, you run the risk of developing liver problems. Therefore, your doctor will advise you to avoid this. Sleeping on your left is ideal as it averts the expanding uterus from expending pressure upon your liver, thereby allowing your baby to receive sufficient nutrients and oxygen through your placenta. It also provides the added bonus of improving your blow flow and decreases the amount of energy exerted by your body in endeavoring to achieve optimal blood circulation for both you and your child (1).
If you’re uncomfortable sleeping on your left side, try alternating between your right and left. Feel free to take a break during the course of the night if you’ve been on your left side for a while. However, ensure that you aren’t upon your right side for too long.
2. How About Sleeping On Your Back?
In the early phase of your pregnancy, that is, your first trimester, if you so desire, you can sleep on your back. But once your pregnancy has advanced, suppress your urge to give in to this temptation! This is due to the fact that your expanding uterus can potentially apply additional pressure on your spinal column, back muscles, and crucial blood vessels, thereby altering the flow of blood to you and your unborn child (2).
Sleeping on your back also places you at risk of developing swellings, muscle aches, and cramps and hemorrhoids. This sleeping position also carries the risk of causing a fall in your blood pressure, thereby causing dizziness. For a certain percentage of the female population, however, this position could lead to an inverse rise in their blood pressure levels, hence causing them to develop snoring problems, which may or may not eventually lead to sleep apnea – a serious sleep disorder where the individual abruptly stops breathing while asleep (3).
Sleeping Aids For Pregnant Women
For supporting your belly and back, tuck in one regular sleeping pillow between your folded knees. Or, you can invest in a body length C or U-shaped pillow.
If you happen to be suffering from excessive heartburn, place an extra pillow underneath your head and keep it elevated as you sleep. By using gravity, you would be restricting the stomach acids from traveling back upward through your esophagus.
If you’re plagued with hip pain or other body pains while lying on your side, try using a firmer mattress. Place a foam egg crate mattress topper upon your regular mattress to increase the support of your limbs and torso.
To improve sleep quality, avoid any caffeinated or sugary drinks before bed. A good old glass of warm milk is a time-tested restorative potion for falling asleep.
If your sleep quality is suffering due to headaches, intense sweating or nightmares, then you may be suffering from low blood sugar levels. To keep your levels stable during sleep, indulge in a protein-rich snack such as an egg, turkey or peanut butter for dinner.
3. Scheduling Your Sleep
A vital step during any pregnancy is planning your sleep. You must ensure that you nap whenever you get the opportunity. The optimal time is between 2 pm to 4 pm. Try dividing it into two naps lasting 30 minutes and remember not to consume excess fluids post 6 pm as that will increase your chances of midnight bathroom trips.
Sleep is essential to health. The amount of sleep you get in the course of your pregnancy not only has an impact upon you and your baby’s health, it could also influence your labor experience and future delivery. Sleep deprivation during pregnancy could lead to preeclampsia, which could potentially lead to a preterm birthing. Hence, take your sleeping seriously, soon-to-be mommy!