Pregnancy comes with so much excitement and joy. But we can’t deny the fact that it steals some parts of a woman’s freedom and ease too.
You know, there are some things a woman would do without hassles while she’s not pregnant. But the moment pregnancy comes in. These simple tasks become huge tasks and one of them is sleeping.
It sounds funny, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. Being pregnant places certain restrictions on how a woman should sleep for the good of her health and that of her unborn child. Wrong sleeping positions while pregnant could lead to serious complications like stillbirths.
In this article, we discuss why sleeping can be difficult during pregnancy, the types of sleeping positions and the best sleeping positions for pregnant women, and why they are the best for pregnant women. Read On…
Why Sleeping Can Be Difficult
One of the main reasons that can cause a lack of sleep problems during pregnancy is the increasing size of the fetus. This can make it difficult for you to find a comfortable sleeping position.
If you’re used to sleeping with your back or stomach, you might find it difficult getting used to sleeping on your side (as recommended by doctors). Also, moving around in bed becomes harder as the belly grows bigger.
Other common physical symptoms that might affect your sleep:
- Frequent urge to pee: Here your kidneys are doing a double shift to filter the increased volume of blood circulating through your body, and this filtering process causes you to urinate more. As the baby grows and your uterus gets bigger, which brings about more pressure on your bladder. This makes you want to visit the bathroom very often.
- Increased heart rate: During this period, your heart rate increases to pump more blood to your body, the more your blood supply goes to the uterus, the harder your heart works to send sufficient blood to the rest of your body.
- Shortness of breath: An increase in pregnancy hormones can cause you to breathe in more deeply. During this period, you might feel like you’re struggling to get air. As the uterus enlarges, breathing may become more difficult because the uterus takes up more space, which brings about more pressure against your diaphragm.
- Leg cramps and backaches: Extra weight on your body can contribute to those pains you feel in your legs or back. The human body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. This hormone helps prepare your body for childbirth. One of the side effects of this hormone is the general loosening of the body ligaments, this makes pregnant women less stable and more exposed to injury, especially in their backs.
- Heartburn and constipation: Many women experience heartburn during pregnancy, this is when your stomach contents reflux back up into the esophagus. During pregnancy, the whole of your digestive system slows down allowing food to stay in your stomach and intestines longer, which results in heartburn or constipation. These can tend to get worse as the pregnancy grows, that is when the growing uterus presses on the stomach or the large intestine.
Keep in mind, your sleeping problems might be a result of other causes as well. It’s been reported that many women experience nightmares during pregnancy, some even report that their dreams become more vivid than usual.
Stress can also be another factor that might interfere with sleep, too. It could be that you’re worried about your baby’s health, anxious about being a mom or feeling nervous about giving birth. All of these feelings are completely normal, but they might deprive you and your partner of sleep at night.
Types of Sleeping Positions
There are three major types of sleeping positions. Each of these positions comes with its variations. The three major types of sleeping positions are the back, stomach, and side.
The Back Position
This sleeping position involves sleeping with your face facing upwards and your back on your bed. It is a relatively comfortable position to sleep in. This position looks cool, but experts do not support it at all especially if you’re a pregnant woman. Below are some reasons why this position is not encouraged.
Reasons Why This Position Is Not Ideal For a Pregnant Woman
- Sleeping on your back increases your chances of experiencing sleep apnea. This is crucial for anyone let alone a pregnant woman. A pregnant woman can only sleep in this position during the first one to two months of her pregnancy. After that, it becomes very dangerous.
- Another reason why the back position is not the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman is this; it causes neck and back pains. This is because of the pressure and strains the position exerts on the back and spine.
- The back position is not the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman because it exerts pressure on the blood vessels (inferior vena cava and aorta). This pressure hinders proper blood circulation. Poor blood circulation puts the health of the fetus at great risk. This should be avoided at all costs!
The Stomach Position
This is yet another popular sleeping position. This one involves lying on your stomach with your back facing upwards. This position is very common among young children. This position is quite comfortable for a pregnant woman in her first trimester.
After then, it might become difficult. The bigger the stomach grows, the more difficult it is for a pregnant woman to sleep on her stomach.
Some women say sleeping on an already enlarged stomach feels like lying on a very big ball. That’s a lot of discomforts. Don’t you think so? It is!
Reasons Why This Position Is Not Ideal For a Pregnant Woman
- Several studies have attributed stillbirths to the stomach position. Mind you, sleeping on your stomach doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly have a stillbirth but it sure increases your chances of having it by up to five percent. The risk is higher when your pregnancy is over eighteen weeks. Instead of taking this risk, why not avoid this position altogether while pregnant?
- The stomach position is not recommended for pregnant women because of the stomach troubles that it can cause. If you’re wondering how sleeping on the stomach causes stomach troubles, well here’s why – Sleeping on your stomach pushes your intestines down, this push is what causes the stomach trouble. More so, the push could also make you breathe improperly because lying on your stomach won’t let you get as much air as you would need.
- The stomach position can also lead to body aches and back pains. This becomes very prominent when your stomach has protruded so much.
Read Also: How To Reduce Pregnancy Swelling
The Best Sleeping Position For Pregnant Woman
Now that we have discussed the unhealthy sleeping positions for pregnant women, it is time to look at the best which is side sleeping position.
This sleeping position involves lying on your right or left side with your stomach and back not laying on the bed directly, rather stay on the sides. Experts say this sleeping position is the absolute best because it keeps both mother and child from harm’s way.
Many women find it difficult to sleep on their sides while pregnant. You know, sleeping on your side would make you feel restricted to just a portion of your bed and that’s a loss of freedom.
Also, turning from side to side while in bed won’t be very easy all thanks to the protruded stomach. But, what can a pregnant woman do to feel comfortable while sleeping on her side? Below are tips that can help.
Tips On How To Make Side Sleeping Work
If side sleeping is kind of uncomfortable for you, here are some suggestions for how to make it feel more natural or at least comfortable.
If you’re sleeping position concerns you, ask your partner to check on in between sleeping hours to help nudge you into a better position.
During this period, sleeping in any position is generally harmless. But you should get into the habit of learning by simply slipping a pillow between your legs and figure out which side is comfortable for you.
This method can help ease discomfort in your hips and lower body. And if you want to be a little bit extra, you can try getting an orthopedic knee pillow that’s made of memory foam.
As your pregnancy grows, you must ensure that your mattress is firm so that your back isn’t sagging. If your mattress is too soft, you can apply the technique of slipping a board between your mattress and box spring. I’m sure this will help.
You can also try getting pregnancy pillows. These pillows come in U or C shapes and wrap around all over your body to help with side sleeping.
While using this pillow, you should position the pillow so that it runs along your back and then hug the front while at the same time slipping it between your knees.
You should keep using a pregnancy pillow for proper support. But if you find them a bit too much with your growing pregnancy belly, then try wedge pillows.
To use it, stick the pillow under your belly and behind your back to keep from rolling. If you’re still finding it difficult to sleep on your side, then try using pillows to prop your upper body at a 45-degree angle.
This way, you’re not lying on your back and you take the compression off your inferior vena cava also known as IVC.
Alternatively, you can try lifting the head of your bed a few inches more with books or blocks.
Why Is The Side Position The Best Sleeping Position For Pregnant Woman?
- Better blood circulation: Sleeping on your back allows for better blood circulation. This is because sleeping on your side allows your internal organs to stay in their right positions. When your organs are not pressured, your heart would pump blood better. This makes circulation faster.
- Zero body pain: Sleeping on your side helps eliminate every form of body pain associated with other sleeping conditions. When you sleep on your side, your spine and neck would receive no external pressure. This is essential for your health and that of the fetus.
Some health providers recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side. This is because the human liver is on the right side of your abdomen.
Therefore lying on your left side will help keep the uterus off that large organ. But consult your doctor to know what he or she recommends.
Read Also: How To Hide A Pregnancy For 9 Months
The topic of the best sleeping position for pregnant woman has always caused a lot of questions. You know, a lot of women do not know the ideal sleeping position that they should adopt while pregnant.
We believe this article has given you the clarity and necessary information you need concerning this discourse. Make sure you get all the sleep you can before your baby is born. More so, always consult with your health care provider if you have other questions about which position is best.