Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most amazing time to any woman. What happens in a pregnant woman's body is a mystery that cannot be explained. However, the bliss of pregnancy does not last for a long time. When the first trimester is gone and the second trimester comes to an end, pregnancy discomforts start to emerge, and they get even worse when the third trimester sets in. Increased weight gain and the growing belly, can leave a woman fatigued and worse still, getting the right sleeping position becomes a chore.

Most pregnant women spend over 60% of the entire night tossing and turning. In fact, some never sleep at all. If you are reading this, then we believe you need a solution. We have for you best sleeping positions during pregnancy that you can adapt and improve the quality of your sleep.

Reasons behind insomnia during the first trimester

It’s at this stage that your body goes through a lot of changes, which affects your sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation (1998) Poll on Women and Sleep, 78% of women are reported to experience sleep problems during pregnancy than other times (Source). Listed below are the main causes of insomnia during the early pregnancy stage.

  • Never ending urge to urinate due to rise of progesterone hormone.
  • Discomfort with body changes.
  • Drowsy feeling all the time due to the rise of progesterone hormone which brings sudden change in sleep patterns.
  • Common nausea in the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Heartburn issues during the initial weeks of pregnancy.

Best sleeping position during pregnancy

First and foremost, for comfortable sleeping be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing like cotton. “It warrants that you’re not compressing the vena cava, which can lead to a restricted flow of blood to the placenta,” says midwife Christy LeBlanc.

Sleeping on side (SOS):

Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby

One of the best and most recommended sleep position during pregnancy is side sleeping. In fact, you should train yourself to sleep only on your side when you are in the first trimester.

You can sleep on any side the first weeks of pregnancy especially the first month when you have no idea if conception has occurred but once you become aware that you are pregnant, start training yourself to sleep on your side only.

Why sleep on your side during pregnancy

Sleeping on your right or left side is OK, and research indicates that sleeping on your left side is more beneficial for you and the baby. When you sleep on your left side, there is increased blood flow and nutrients that reach the placenta in turn reaching your baby. So, getting used to sleeping in this position is very important.

Sleeping on your back or stomach especially in the second and third trimester is not recommended. This is because they are not only uncomfortable, but they decrease the supply of oxygen to you and your baby making you susceptible to dizziness and other pregnancy complications that you do not wish to have at this stage of pregnancy.

How best to sleep on your side during pregnancy?

Just sleeping on your side is important but not taking the necessary measures when sleeping can make you stay awake.

To sleep better, make sure you not only sleep on your left side, but you bend your knees, a maternity pillow, which can support your back, bump, neck and knees, might help. Or try wedging a pillow between your knees or under your belly to ward off back and hip pain. 

That is not all, make sure you sleep on a comfortable bed too. Sinking mattress may not be a good option during this time. So invest in a soft but hard mattress for extra comfort.

FAQs

1. How can I sleep better during pregnancy?

Sleep aids such as pregnancy pillow, glass of warm milk before bedtime, and protein backed snacks help in offering you sound and comfortable sleep especially during the first and third trimesters.

Relaxations techniques such as yoga and deep breathing are also simple but time-tested techniques to calm your mind, relax your muscles and sleep easily.

2. Does lack of sleep harm your baby?

Lack of sleep will not harm your baby as insomnia is common during pregnancy. But, you should listen to what your body when it needs to slow down or rest.  But also research indicates that less sleep during early stages of pregnancy can increase the risk of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in mothers.

3. How much should you sleep in the first trimester?

Adults normally require an average of eight hours of complete sleep every night. But, with the demands of pregnancy on a woman’s body, you may need to sleep more during the first trimester.

4. Can you sleep on your stomach in the first trimester?

As long as you're comfortable sleeping in this position, you're at liberty to do so. However, you'll find it impossible to sleep on your stomach with the growing belly. Sleeping on your stomach also cuts blood flow to the fetus, and can lead to nausea, dizziness and hence it is advisable to avoid this sleeping position.

Conclusion

There you have it!

One thing every pregnant woman should know is that you can have a good night's sleep, but it always depends on you.

Keep stress, distractions and other sleeping barriers off your sleeping routine. So, follow instructions but most of all, do what suits you. Every pregnancy is different. Just follow your instincts and if your discomfort is getting worse, ask for advice from a professional.

Stay tuned to The Sleep Holic for more pregnancy related articles

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