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Tossing and turning for way too many hours trying to find a comfortable and safe sleeping position while pregnant? You’re not the only one.
It’s a common problem that many pregnant women face whether in their early or late pregnancy.
So if you’re looking for the most comfortable and safest sleep positions during pregnancy you’ve come to the right place.
Finding a good sleep position is not easy now that the two most common ones (on the back and on the stomach) are not the best choices anymore.
Whether it’s the back pain or heartburn, the frequent urination or insomnia you need some quality sleep and keep your baby safe at the same time.
Use this guide to help you find the best sleeping positions during pregnancy.
WHAT CAUSES SLEEPLESS NIGHTS DURING PREGNANCY?
Because a human being is growing in your womb, making your uterus expand more and more each day, your body faces many issues: heartburn, shortness of breath, back pain, hip pain, knee pain, lower back pain.
As you can see a lot of pain is involved which surely affects the quality of your sleep.
It’s not easy to find a comfortable sleep position when a growing belly is in your way and you’re constantly thinking that you may squish the baby if you accidentally sleep on your back or on your stomach.
WHAT ARE THE SAFEST SLEEP POSITIONS DURING PREGNANCY?
The best sleep position during pregnancy is on the side. Which side is better to sleep you may ask? Sleeping on the left side or right side?
Sleeping on your left side is the recommended sleep position during pregnancy because it ensures the appropriate blood flow and nutrients that reach your baby and the placenta.
Sleeping on the left side is encouraged because the vena cava is located to the right of your spine.
So it puts no pressure on your vena cava and promotes kidney function (getting rid of waste products and fluids), meaning lower risks of swelling in your feet, ankles and hands.
Sleeping on your left side also prevents your body weight from pressing too much on your liver.
Remember the best sleep position during pregnancy: SOS (sleep on side), mainly in the third trimester of pregnancy because it has been shown to help prevent stillbirth (1 in 200 babies are stillborn).
Sleeping while pregnant is challenging but you do want to use a position that’s safe for both you and your baby. So even though you may have a favorite position, choosing the safest is wiser.
You don’t have to sleep on your left side the whole night, it’s ok if you alternate with the right side.
Whatever you do, keep the same pattern for your day naps and night sleep so your body can get used to it.
TIPS FOR COMFORTABLE SLEEP POSITIONS:
BELLY AND BACK SUPPORT
Put a pillow between your legs and knees, that way you won’t be able to roll to your stomach or back either. If you struggle with back pain you may want to add another pillow under your belly.
If you use a pregnancy pillow you don’t have to worry about putting too many pillows around you because it’s usually long enough to provide you with the support you need for your entire body.
It’s going to allow proper blood flow and help you prevent tension in your muscles and joints (you tend to have loose joints during pregnancy). You can use it later on if you plan on breastfeeding.
So don’t hesitate to experiment with some full-body pregnancy pillows or wedge-shaped pillows. You may further benefit from either firmer or memory foam mattress to support your torso and limbs.
If you suffer from heartburn make sure you sleep in a slightly tilted position so you can keep those stomach acids where they belong (in your stomach, not esophagus).
This trick will also help you in late pregnancy when you may experience shortness of breath.
SLEEP POSITIONS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK
Ironically it’s known to be the best sleep position for good blood circulation. But if you’re pregnant, it is recommended not to sleep on your back during your second and third trimesters.
This will put a lot of pressure on your bladder, on your back (causing back pains), on your chest (causing shortness of breath), on your intestines (causing tummy troubles) and your blood circulation (aorta and inferior vena cava) and on your blood vessels behind your uterus.
You may even end up with low blood pressure (causing dizziness) and hemorrhoids. All of these may endanger both you and your baby. So think twice before you sleep on your back.
You don’t want to mess around with your baby’s oxygen and nutrients, which could further interfere with his heart rate.
SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH
You can sleep on your stomach during early pregnancy (until the second trimester). In the early stages when you don’t even have a baby bump it’s fine to sleep on your tummy.
But if your bump is already showing (for some women that happens around the 4th month) you wouldn’t be able to sleep on your stomach even if you wanted.
Your abdomen would put a lot of pressure on your expanding uterus (and growing breasts).
CAN YOU HURT YOUR BABY BY SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH?
Not really. But it’s one of those things ‘don’t try this at home’. Actually, your baby is pretty protected in the womb. Your fetus is weightless in the amniotic fluid to protect her from any external pressure.
Even at nine months pregnant your uterine walls provide sufficient protection for your fetus.
I love sleeping on my stomach and I remember when I was pregnant I stopped doing that as soon as I felt a little discomfort.
You know when you’re bloated and you press on your stomach? That adds even more discomfort right?!
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY SLEEP ON YOUR BACK WHILE PREGNANT?
Rarely does someone sleep in the same position the whole night. We move, inevitably. We cannot control our position when we sleep.
But keep in mind that the position we go to sleep in is the position we sleep in the longest during the night. If you wake up and realize you’ve been sleeping on your back don’t worry.
Probably the discomfort woke you up anyways, so your body will give you a hint that something is off. Go back to sleeping on the side.
By the time any harm happens to your baby, you’ll be so uncomfortable lying on your back that your body will make you flip over.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
You probably did a lot of research about sleep positions during pregnancy, and that’s ok. It means you care about yourself and your baby’s well-being.
But most of all don’t forget to listen to your own body. If you notice that a position works better than the other and vice versa, choose the one that gives you the most comfort.
In case you chose the wrong positions your body will ultimately let you know: malaise, dizziness, hip pain, back pain or ‘cute’ kicks from your baby trying to adjust in a more convenient position in the amniotic fluid.
Alternate positions and see which one works best for you.
If you really want to make the most of your night sleep then you could follow the hacks I share in Pregnant And Tired? 6 Tips To Help You Sleep Better