As your weeks of pregnancy progress, it seems like you are experiencing the world like never before! Though every challenge is new, many expecting moms still share common problems.
A particularly notorious one is the shortage of sleep or night sleep problems in general. As a mom-to-be, you probably want to know the wrong sleeping positions during pregnancy and the right ones. Should you try not to sleep on your back?
Is sleeping on your stomach harmful for your baby? And questions like that.
Now that you need comfortable sleep more than ever, it becomes harder to fall asleep in the first place! As your pregnancy progresses and the number of your pregnancy weeks count, this problem gets more serious. Especially from the 26th week onwards, you cannot easily sleep in any preferred position you wish!
In fact, most of the time, you have to choose between lying on either your sides or your back. But despite all these temporary hassles, the importance of getting good and efficient sleep during pregnancy cannot be emphasized more.
Sleep is when your body rests and repairs itself. Your mind calms down and finds free time to store memories; finally, your blood vessels refresh themselves.
How to Choose a Sleeping Position for Yourself?
Experts have expressed mainly two views on choosing the proper sleeping position for pregnant mothers. The first view states that mothers can choose any position if they feel comfortable. So, no need to get worried if you wake up and see, for example, that you have been lying on your back.
The second view, however, believes that mothers should control their sleeping position. So, in this article, we will examine both views, various possible sleeping positions, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Sleeping on Your Back
You may ask, "When to stop sleeping on back during pregnancy?" According to some experts, sleeping on your back does not pose a problem to your growing baby, provided it is done in the first trimester of pregnancy.
It may make you feel dizzy or nauseous. In this case, your solution would be using pillows and placing them under a shoulder and a buttock.
The tilted sleep position for pregnant women will help you and your baby stay in a good position and facilitate blood flow. If, however, there is a problem, your body will most likely wake you up to correct your position.
But experts' opinions are divided on the second and third trimesters of pregnancy sleeping positions. Since the fetus grows more rapidly during this period, it will naturally impose more weight on your back. Hence the large vein that carries blood back from the lower body parts to the heart (called vena cava) gets compressed.
So, you may experience pain, incomplete excretion of waste from the body, blood circulation complications, and even low blood pressure. Although as we mentioned before, your body knows how to handle the situation by sending your signals to wake up and reposition yourself.
Sleeping on Left or Right Side during Pregnancy
Sleeping on either side leaves many mothers uncomfortable during the night. The right or left side position makes your hip and shoulder face the ceiling and may cause side-ache pain, too.
At the same time, if you have to choose between right or left-side sleep, it is better to select the left side.
There is a scientific reason for this: the inferior vena cava on the right side of your body is responsible for returning blood from the lower part of the body to your heart. This vessel will be exposed to uterine pressure and contract when lying on your right side.
As a result, when the return of blood to the heart is slowed down, mothers experience choking or feel nauseous and light-headed. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to sleep on your left side.
In this case, the uterus is further away from the vessel, and no pressure is applied. Of course, sleeping in this position is uncomfortable for many women.
In the last months of pregnancy, dizziness and near pass-out experience might also occur to some women while driving. The reason here, too, is the pressure felt in the same major blood vessel. In such a case, immediately move the car to a safe corner, get off, and bend your body forward and to the left. It will make you feel better on the spot, and you'll be able to drive again.
Sleeping on sides, especially sleeping on your left side, helps with efficient kidney function and less swelling during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Finally, the last sleeping position is sleeping on your belly. We said that the proper sleeping position depends on the personal preference and comfort of the mother.
Yet many women ask questions like, "When should I stop sleeping on my stomach during pregnancy?".
In fact, belly-down sleeping sounds like a good option for most mothers. Of course, before your baby bump gets bigger. Day by day, as the baby inside you grows and the first trimester of pregnancy is passed, sleeping on your stomach will become difficult or even impossible for you.
However, let us repeat that very few people sleep in one position all night. So, if you wake up and find yourself lying on your stomach, there is no need to worry.
Usually, your body will solve these conditions on its own. If you need to change your sleeping position, it will wake you up to change your position.
General Tips for Having a Better Sleep Position for Pregnant Moms
Although mothers need more sleep than ever during pregnancy, unprecedented sleep problems will inevitably occur and increase during this period. For example, lots of stress accompanied by hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy prevents mothers from getting a complete 8 hours eye-shut. This can leave sleep-deprived mothers more prone to prolonged labor or even C-section surgery.
Still, other possible scenarios complicate things even more. Consider sleep apnea which disturbs normal breathing at night and may pave the way for increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, or low birth weight.
This is in addition to the frequent need to go to the bathroom, disrupting your sleep.
As a result, be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor. You can use several pillows and put them under your legs and back as a remedy. Also, think of using a pregnancy pillow, known as a wedge-shaped pillow.
There is no clear-cut rule regarding the optimal sleeping position for expecting mothers. So, the general advice is to choose the sleeping position based on your preference. Yet, despite the exclusivity of every pregnancy and pregnant mom's physical condition, there are common tips to consider.
In this article, we mentioned various sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the back, belly, and sleeping on the right side during pregnancy or the left one, and noted the importance of sleep for the health of the mother and her baby.
All-night back sleep is usually impossible and may lead to problems such as back pain.
Moreover, you can sleep on your stomach mainly in the first trimester because the baby bump usually deters you from sleeping on your side during the second and third trimesters. It is considered one of the problems of third-trimester pregnancy sleeping positions.
Finally, when there is a need to choose between right or left sleeping positions, opting for the left side is recommended to prevent compression of the vena cava.
Therefore, it is essential to use a combination of different sleeping positions and tips to have a more comfortable night's sleep.