Pregnancy Sleeping Tips: As pregnancy progresses, many mothers begin feeling restless at nights. There is obviously the discomfort associated with pregnancy and weight gain like leg cramps, back pain, breathlessness, nausea etc. Along with that comes the additional worry of choosing the safest yet the most comfortable sleeping position which is beneficial both for the mom and her unborn child.
Sleeping on stomach is obviously very uncomfortable as the belly grows. Although if you are used to sleeping on your tummy, you may continue to do that till the time you can easily do it. Rolling on your tummy for sleeping will not result in squashing your unborn child and is completely safe. However, obviously, its not practically possible with a protruding belly during later stages.
Sleeping on the sides is great during pregnancy. Sleeping on the left side is particularly beneficial as this position increases the blood supply in the body, aids digestion and increases the nutrients supply via the placenta to the baby. This is great for both Mom and the unborn child. Sleeping on the right side is safe for the mom-to-be. It may not have added benefits during pregnancy but if the woman is comfortable, it won’t do any harm either.
Experts say sleeping on the back during second and third trimester for extended periods of time can be detrimental for health. The growing uterus and the growing baby puts pressure on the main vein that carries blood from the lower part of body to the heart. If the main vein is suppressed due to prolonged periods of sleeping on the back, the woman’s blood circulation can get adversely affected leading to problems for both mother and her fetus. However, rolling on the back in the middle of deep sleep or resting for short time in that position is unlikely to cause any harm. Pregnant women should try and form a habit of sleeping on the sides instead of their backs.\
Many a times would-be-father becomes extra cautious towards their pregnant partner’s well being and wake up their partner in the middle of deep sleep to correct her posture into the ideal left facing sideways position. This is completely unnecessary as a few hours of sleep in any comfortable position is safe for the mom-to-be. However, if they practice sleeping on their sides from early pregnancy, they will most likely form a habit of doing so which would be great as the pregnancy progresses.
For sleeping well, a great idea is to use pillows for support under your body and in between the legs. Placing a pillow in between the legs or under the belly or against the back is great for comfort. You can also purchase different shapes of pillows like a wedge pillow or full body pillow.A wedge shaped pillow is great for resting if experiencing acid reflux or indigestion. A full body pillow can be used in multiple ways to have support from head to toe. Extra pillows can also ensure that the mother sleeps peacefully without worrying about rolling over her back or belly or any other uncomfortable position. Investing in a good pillow can be useful for the Mom during the post partum recovery period and while breastfeeding the baby.
Good sleep in absolutely crucial for a healthy mind and body but pregnancy, followed by childbirth, also makes it the most desired activity. Make sure you get enough of it!
The author is a CAPPA certified childbirth educator.