What's in This Guide?
- 1 Why Back Sleeping Can be Problematic for Pregnant Women
- 2 Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
- 3 Which Side Should I Sleep on While Pregnant?
- 4 Practice Sleeping On Your Side
Exactly how bad back sleeping during pregnancy is? Learn on if you are one of those unclear about why pregnant women shouldn’t sleep on their back during pregnancy.
Why Back Sleeping Can be Problematic for Pregnant Women
Your mama’s instinct began to develop the moment you found out you’re pregnant. The urge to protect your unborn child against all odds becomes your priority as your bump grows, so you cut down on the things that can put your baby in harm’s way. And every night, you try to reward yourself with a safe and comfortable night’s sleep. However, taking the reward can be challenging when you have a baby growing in your belly.
Different factors can make your sleep uncomfortable, including body changes, hormonal imbalance, and a heightened feeling of anxiety. A 2016 research study published in Science Direct proved that about 76% of pregnant women find it hard to sleep at night. Why? That’s because it’s a bit difficult for pregnant women to get the right position to sleep as long as they already have a baby bump.
Not thinking about comfort, mothers must consider the best position for their baby, which leads many to doubt if sleeping on the back is safe. However, in this article, you’ll know whether it’s safe to sleep on your back or not and some tips to getting comfortable as you doze off.
Should I Sleep on My Back When Pregnant?
“Should I sleep on my back when Pregnant?” is a question commonly asked by Pregnant women. However, from research, it’s deduced that experts advise pregnant women who have started to show and those within their first trimester not to sleep on their backs.
Although there’s no medical prescription or diagnosis, which states that pregnant women shouldn’t rest on their backs, so you’re free to stretch by sleeping on your back when dozing. Hence, there’s a tendency that you might need to get rid of the habit, so it’s better not to sleep on your back.
Why Shouldn’t I Sleep On My Back During Pregnancy?
As the womb grows during pregnancy, it’ll become so large that the weight plus the fetus’s weight will settle on your intestine and Vena Cava; The Vena Cava is the primary artery that is responsible for pumping blood between your heart and lower body. The weight will instill pressure that’ll cause a series of ailments like backache, indigestion, hemorrhoids, and high blood pressure, leading to dizziness.
However, as we said, the Vena Cava is in charge of pumping blood from your heart to the lower body; the pressure might decrease blood circulation. A decrease in blood circulation will directly lead to hindering blood flow to the womb, reducing the number of nutrients and oxygen that’s passed on to the unborn child.
Thus, sleeping on your back won’t cause your problem alone; it will also inhibit your baby’s growth and development.
What Should I Do If I Find Myself Sleeping On My Back?
Sleeping on your back can cause a series of health issues in mothers and affect the baby’s growth, so what should you do? Most importantly, when you find yourself in this position, try to calm down. You need to stay calm because sleeping on your back for a short period won’t cause any problems, though; sometimes, it might just be a few issues that will affect the mother but not the baby, so calm down. Even though it isn’t advisable for you to sleep in that position, doing it for a short time can’t cause serious health issues.
Besides, Sleeping on your back while pregnant is uncomfortable, so it’ll be challenging for you to stay in the position for a long time. Surely, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night feeling sore, which will prompt you to try out other positions, so there’s no harm. However, if you notice you’re always finding yourself in the position, you should put a long pillow between you and the mattress. Like that, you’ll adjust to about 20-30°, which will result in the reduction of the pressure on your Vena Cava.
Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
Since it’s established that you shouldn’t sleep on your back for a long time, what other positions should you try? Well, we’re left with two options, and they’re the left or right side. But the question remains, which side is perfect for getting a good night’s sleep?
Sleeping On Your Stomach While Pregnant
Sleep on your baby bump while pregnant? Well, the idea doesn’t sit well, so it’s advisable not to try it even though there are no medical reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Immediately, you’re in your second trimester; indeed, your baby bump will have developed, and it’ll be challenging for you to balance it, let alone sleep on it.
Sleeping On the Side While Pregnant
Sleeping on your side while pregnant is comfortable and safe since you’d have no other choice but to take the position when you’re in your second and third trimester. Sleeping on your side encourages eliminating body waste and toxic materials in the body, plus lessening the swelling on the feet, hands, and ankles. Besides, sleeping on the side helps stimulate blood and nutrients flow to the placenta while decreasing the Vena Cava pressure.
Again, health consultants recommend sleeping on the side while in the first trimester. Why? That’s because the side position makes breathing more comfortable and reduces the pressure on your womb. So, it’s better to start the habit right from the first trimester and not wait until you’re in your second or third trimester before you sleep on your side.
Which Side Should I Sleep on While Pregnant?
Okay, so there’s the question of which side is the best for both mothers and unborn babies; the left or right side? The American Pregnancy Association recommends the left side for pregnant women, though the organization has some proof backing it up.
The reasons why it was recommended for pregnant women to sleep on their left side include;
1) According to the American Pregnancy Association, the Inferior Vena Cava is found on the right side. Sleeping on the right side can damage the organs and hinder blood flow to the placenta.
2) Sleeping on the left side can save the womb from putting pressure on the liver, which can also be found on the right side.
Although, despite the American Pregnancy Association’s recommendations, there’s no research or studies that showed that it’s dangerous for pregnant women to sleep on their right side. However, most gynecologists recommend both sides for pregnant women; it’s said that both sides provide comfort, so it’s advisable that pregnant women choose the side that gives them top-notch comfort and allows them to have a good night’s sleep. You can also change the sides as you wish during the night as there’s no harm in it.
How to Sleep Comfortably On the Side While Pregnant?
Although you can sleep on either side you wish, sleep on any side doesn’t guarantee a good night’s sleep. Contrarily, it might take some weeks before you get comfortable sleeping when your bump develops. Interestingly, there are different tricks to getting a good night’s sleep as your baby grows.
Practice Sleeping On Your Side
It’s normal to have different Sleeping positions, so if you’ve been sleeping in other places before pregnancy, it’ll be better to practice the side Sleeping position as soon as you realize you’re pregnant. Most doctors advise pregnant women to start Sleeping on their side from the first trimester so that they’ll be used to it.
Bend Your Knees
If you’re sleeping on your side, either the left or right side, it’s ideal you bend your knees at the right angle. Bending your knees at the right angle will stimulate unrestricted blood flow and prevent the heart from doing additional tasks.
Make Use of Pillows to Prop Your Leg
To sleep comfortably on your side, you should put a thick and strong pillow under your upper leg to hold it. Propping your upper leg with the pillow will give your body the proper alignment and lessen your back and lower leg pressure.
Use a Pillow to Prop your Head and Back
When you’re at the later stage of pregnancy, you might deal with heartburn symptoms and difficulty in breathing. However, using a standard pillow to prop both your neck and back can lessen the symptoms and give you a good night’s sleep.
Use a thin Pillow Under Your Tummy
When your pregnancy is around 20 weeks and above, it’s suitable to slip a thin pillow under your belly to support your baby’s weight. Note that the pillow doesn’t have to be thick; a thin and flimsy pillow will do the trick.
Get A Pregnancy Pillow
If your regular pillow doesn’t give you the comfort you carve, you can use a pregnancy pillow. There are different pillows made, especially for pregnant women, so you shouldn’t have a problem choosing one.
Get More Than One Pillow
There’s no crime in using more than one pillow for comfort. You can use a typical pillow for your neck and back and use another pad to support your belly. You can try different positions and combinations to get one that’s perfect for you.
Change Position As You Wish
You can choose between the right and left sides for sleeping, and you can change the position whenever you wish. You don’t need to stick to one side if you aren’t very comfortable with it.
Use The Recliner
Recliner chairs might come in handy when you find it hard to sleep in the bed. And they do provide proper support and the right angle for pregnant women to sleep. Continual sleeping on your back when pregnant can cause a series of health issues for both mother and baby, so pregnant women should strive to sleep on either of their sides and use pillows for support to get a good night’s sleep.
Many Pregnant women get into the dilemma of not knowing the right position to sleep. However, it’s compulsory for expecting women to know the right place not to put themselves and their babies in harm’s way. Thus, Sleeping on the back while pregnant isn’t harmful as long as it’s for a short period, but continual sleeping on the back during pregnancy can cause health complications for both mothers and babies.