Pregnancy is a significant time for the expectant mother as she feels the joy of a new life growing inside her; she is making changes in her lifestyle, diet, and is also undergoing physical and emotional changes. As much as diet is important during this crucial phase, beauty sleep does wonders for the mother and her growing baby. Talking of sleep, the expectant mother should know about safe sleeping positions during pregnancy.
As you experience physical changes of weight gain and a growing tummy, you may not be able to sleep in one position all the time. Further, if you have been accustomed to sleeping on your stomach, you will have to change that position to feel comfortable with a growing tummy and weight gain.
Sleep Positions During Pregnancy
It is not a good idea to sleep on your back after the fifth month of pregnancy. The reason for this is- when you sleep on your back after the fifth month, it puts additional pressure on your aorta and the inferior vena cava. These are important blood vessels behind the abdomen, which perform the function of carrying blood back to your heart from your legs and feet. When you lie on your back, the pressure exerted on these vessels can slow blood circulation to your body and baby. If you try lying on your back during pregnancy, you may also find it tougher to breathe. Further, you could experience stomach problems if you lie on your back as the growing tummy can exert pressure on the intestine.
So, sleeping on your back is ruled out. How about your tummy? It is certainly not recommended to sleep on your belly as it exerts pressure on the uterus. You will also feel uncomfortable in your breasts.
Sleeping On The Sides
Sleeping on the side is the best and safest, if there is a preference on the side you should sleep during pregnancy, the left side is the best. The left side sleeping position is considered the most safe and comfortable for both you and your baby. You must cultivate a habit early in the pregnancy itself to consciously start sleeping on the left side. It is indeed tough to sleep in one position all night long, so it is a good idea to turn from side to side, but trying to sleep on the left for the most part of the night is a good goal to keep.
Sleeping on the left-hand side improves blood circulation. When you sleep on the left, blood can easily travel from the heart to the placenta and deliver key nutrients to your baby. It improves blood flow and also gives a boost to the kidney to help it efficiently manage fluids and waste products from the body. This will help reduce swelling in the hands, feet and ankles. When you lie on your left side, it prevents pressure on the liver. Sleeping on both sides is okay, but the left is the best.
Completely avoid sleeping on the back during pregnancy because:
- The weight of your uterus on the back, spine and intestines can cause improper blood circulation, muscle aches, pains and hemorrhoids.
- Sleeping on the back can lead to a fall in blood pressure in some cases. In some others the BP can also rise. Both situations are not so great for the expectant mother and her baby.
- Snoring and sleep apnea is a possibility with sleeping on the back.
Use pillows effectively to alleviate some of the discomfort while sleeping during pregnancy. You can keep a pillow under your body to keep you on the side so that you don’t sleep on your back. If support under the back and belly is comforting during pregnancy, you could prop a pillow under your tummy or between your knees.
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, raise your chest by putting a pillow under your side. Heartburn, a common occurrence during pregnancy can be alleviated by propping up the head of the bed using blocks to keep the stomach acids from making it to the esophagus.
Make sure you get your full eight hours of beauty sleep. Practice sleeping on the left-hand side for a healthy pregnancy.