The Right Way to Sleep During Pregnancy

Sleeping in the right posture is of utmost importance while you are pregnant.  The right sleeping technique helps you relax and rejuvenate.

During pregnancy you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep.   Unfortunately, your regular sleeping positions may no longer work for you during pregnancy.   There are a number of reasons for this new discomfort, but there are some sleeping positions that you can try which may help you get your much-needed rest.

Reasons for your discomfort may include:

  • Increasing size of the abdomen
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side).  Even better is to sleep on your left side.  Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs.

Tips to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

  1. In the third trimester, sleep on your left side to allow for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys.  Avoid lying flat on your back for a long period of time.
  2. Drink lots of fluids during the day, but cut down before bedtime.
  3. To prevent heartburn, do not eat large amounts of spicy, acidic (such as tomato products), or fried foods.  If heartburn is a problem, sleep with your head elevated on pillows.
  4. Exercise regularly to help you stay healthy, improve your circulation, and reduce leg cramps.
  5. Special "pregnancy" pillows and mattresses may help you sleep better, or use regular pillows to support your body.
  6. Try frequent bland snacks (like crackers) throughout the day.  This helps avoid nausea by keeping your stomach full.
  7. Napping may help.  The NSF (National Science Foundation) poll found that 51% of pregnant or recently pregnant women reported at least one weekday nap; 60% reported at least one weekend nap.
  8. Learn to relax with relaxation and breathing techniques, which can also help when the contractions begin.  A warm bath or a shower before bed can be helpful.
  9. Talk to your doctor if you develop medical problems and/or insomnia persists.

Once the baby is born, a mother's sleep is frequently interrupted, particularly if she is nursing. Mothers who nurse and those with babies that wake frequently during the night should try to nap when their babies do. Sharing baby care to the extent possible, especially during the night, is important for the mother's health, safety, performance, and vitality.

Sleep positions to avoid during pregnancy

  1. Sleeping on your back:  This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, the digestive system, hemorrhoids (piles), and low blood pressure causing a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby.  The growing uterus rests on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and inferior vena cava).  
  2. Sleeping on your stomach:  When you are farther along in your pregnancy, tender breasts and a growing belly soon make sleeping on your stomach impossible.

 

References:
1. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy
2. http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleep-tips-pregnant-women

 

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