Pregnancy and Side Sleeping: What the Doctors Recommend

Pregnant? We have a tip. Doctors recommend sleeping on your side

Why sleeping on the side is best for pregnant women

Chances are that your sleep quality will change with pregnancy. As your body adjusts, your habits shift. For most women, this means that side sleeping becomes a regular part of your life. And the quality of your sleep not only affects your health, but also your baby’s. Growing a child takes a lot of energy. Pregnant women even require more sleep than the average person.

And sleep is when your body heals itself, allowing you to continue to provide a safe environment for a growing baby. If sleep is of concern for you, don’t fret. There are sleep options that should work for you.

Sleep on Your Side

When you first become pregnant, you won’t need to completely disrupt your life. Changes can happen on a slow scale, allowing you to adjust with the stages of your pregnancy. And you can probably wait until the second trimester to make big changes. But as your pregnancy progresses, you may find it increasingly difficult to find the right sleep position. Plus it becomes harder to adjust your position once you’ve chosen. According to several resources, sleeping on your left side can offer the most benefits to you and your child, ensuring optimal blood flow. While sleeping on your right side offers a decent option, sleeping on your left side ensures that you won’t compress your vena cava (which ultimately provides more blood flow).

But your choice of mattress or pillow might play a part in your comfort as well. Placing a pillow between your knees, under your belly, or in the space between your hips and your ribs might give you some relief. Some women even opt to use a pregnancy pillow, which is shaped like a “U” and supports both your back and your front body. Ranging in tons of different sizes and shapes, pregnancy pillows can transform your sleep experience at little extra cost. And many mothers continue to use their pregnancy pillows after birth because they assist with recovery as well. This type of a pillow has been known to help with knee and hip pain throughout pregnancy.

Potential Causes of Poor Sleep

Many women begin snoring while pregnant due to the constriction of the diaphragm. And some even experience swelling in the sinuses. Some women experience Restless Leg Syndrome, back pain, and night walking. But don’t fret. These symptoms can be managed if appropriately observed. Consider changing your sleep setup, adjusting your position, adding a pregnancy pillow and continuing to exercise (but not before bed). Your doctor should be able to help you keep tabs on any changes that might affect your pregnancy.

Tips and Tricks:

• Try placing a pillow beneath your belly. The support might help relieve back pain.• Propping your torso up can help with symptoms like heart burn or shortness of breath.• Maintaining consistency with your sleep schedule will allow the greatest amount of rest to occur. It takes your body a long time to adjust to sleep changes, which makes regimented sleep a necessity.

What not to do:

• Sleeping on your back can cause back pain and decrease circulation, which isn’t good for you or your baby. But your body will respond with nausea before any true harm can be done to you or your child.• Sleeping on your belly can cause high blood pressure and compromised circulation.

The Bottom Line

Pregnancy is a time of great change on many levels. You’re preparing to welcome a life into the world. And by growing that life, your own body will start to experience differences. As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus will grow which affects circulation. This can cause shortness of breath and a racing heart, which will ultimately affect the quality of your sleep as well. Initially, sleeping on your belly won’t cause discomfort. But as your abdomen grows, you’ll have to find alternative solutions. And ultimately, sleeping on your stomach can cause the same circulation issues that sleeping on your back causes. Ultimately, sleeping on your side is likely to provide the most comfort and the best quality of sleep for you and your child. Disruptions to sleep and your life in general can easily be managed with the help of a healthcare provider.

Resources — American Pregnancy, Web MD