The best position for pregnant sleep

27 January, 2017

Finding a comfortable sleeping position during pregnancy is one of the most complicated challenges for expectant mums. The most common recommendation is to sleep on the left side, but proposing it is much easier than putting it into practice.

What’s the best position to sleep when you’re pregnant?

If you used to sleep facing down before being pregnant, you’ll have to consider something different. As your breasts and belly grow bigger, it will turn more and more uncomfortable.

Sleeping on your back makes the whole weight of the uterus rest on the back and the inferior vena cava, which causes back pain and can cause hemorrhoids in addition to stomach pain. The inferior vena cava is responsible for conducting blood to the lower extremities to the heart, so sleeping on your back can lead to respiratory problems, as well as leg cramps and low blood pressure.

As the fetus grows bigger, there’s more pleasure on the bladder, which will make you go to the toilet more often. If you are feeling sick during your pregnancy, you may also find it harder to fall asleep than when you were not pregnant.

The best thing to do, according to specialists, is to sleep on your left side, preventing the uterus from being placed on the liver, which is on the right side of the abdomen. Moreover, the most important blood vessels in the body circulate on the right side of the spine, so lying down on the left side reduce the chances of suffering edema. This position helps the blood to reach the placenta correctly and provide the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. When the blood goes where it needs to, that is, the fetus, the risk of swollen feet is minimized.

Some scientists have observed that sleeping on the right side increases the risk of fetal death, but the position hasn’t been proven determinant. In any case, if the baby is healthy and strong, the reduction of oxygen flow as a result of the pressure on the inferior vena cava caused by sleeping on the right side is imperceptible and not dangerous for either the mother and the baby.

A lot of mums-to-be begin to overthink the arrival of the baby and accumulate high levels of anxiety, which makes falling asleep more dificult for them. That’s why learning some mindfulness and relax techniques is essential to rest during the night. Sleeping a nap of about half an hour will help you to be more alert and combat fatigue during the day, and won’t put so much stress over night sleep.

Some tips for pregnant sleep

Avoid drinking a lot in the evening and try to max your liquid intake during the morning so you don’t have to go to the toilet too often during the night.

Eat food that’s easy to digest before going to bed. If you get nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy, try to eat often and keep your stomach full.  It will be better to avoid too heavy or spicy food, as they can cause heartburn. Make sure to leave a couple of hours between dinner and going to bed.

Don’t exercise right before going to bed. Exercise during pregnancy is great, but if you do it at night it might be harder for you to fall asleep, as it releases dopamine and activates our body. If you must exercise late, make sure you finish at least 45 minutes before bed time.

Put a pillow between your knees or thights to rest your belly over it while you sleep. This is particularly useful during the last three months. Generally speaking, using this pillow thing is a great option to find a good sleeping position.

Using special bras or maternity shaping briefs can make you feel more supported. Give it a try if you feel heavy breasts or belly during the last three months.

Your mattress must be firm, but not particularly tough. If the mum-to-be has acidity issues,  a mattress that can adapt to her back shape and allows some rising is ideal to fight this.

Leave your worries outside the bedroom. Use the bed for sleeping and try to stop thinking about your problems at bedtime. The bed is also a great place to spend some time with your partner, doing things such as reading, having a nice chat and having sex that make falling asleep easier.

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