sleeping position in pregnancy

sleeping position in pregnancy

Finding an ideal sleeping position when you are pregnant is not always easy; your belly is getting bigger, your movements are limited, and you may have some of the common pregnancy pains and aches such as back pain, hip pain, heavy legs, heartburn, or others.

In short, you can’t lie down as you did before, and this may be more difficult for some pregnant women with pre-existing problems like insomnia, but getting ready a little before going to sleep can make a big difference.

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Here are some tips to consider before going to bed:

  • Eat at least two hours before going to bed, this will help you avoid heartburn, which can cause discomfort and disturb your sleep at night.
  • Avoid drinking water just before going to bed, as this can lead to waking up several times during the night to use the bathroom.
  • Make sure your mattress is firm and your coil-spring does not collapse either to guarantee a good night’s sleep.
  • Leave your pillows on the bed so that you can place them more easily when you lie down.
  • Ask help from your partner or another person close to you when switching positions.
  • Seek advice from your doctor to treat occasional insomnia. He will prescribe gentle remedies that may help you.
  • A good book before turning off the light is ideal! Turn off your screens (computer, television, tablet, etc.) an hour before going to bed. The brightness stimulates and prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Best sleeping positions during pregnancy

Many pregnant women have opted for one of the following positions. Try them all and find out which one is most suitable for your body.

1. Lying on your side

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Lying on your side is the best sleeping position during pregnancy, it would be even more comfortable if you try to sleep on your left side; experts highly recommend this position as it allows blood and nutrients to flow more easily into your uterus, and therefore, to reach your baby more effectively.

Sleeping on the left side will release the inferior vena cava (a large vein that runs under the right side of the uterus and carries blood to the heart), which promotes better blood flow in the placenta. It is also proven that in this position, your kidneys can more easily remove wastes and excess fluid from the body.

2. Lying on your side with a pregnancy pillow

A pregnant woman lying on her side with a pregnancy pillow.

The pregnancy pillow will help alleviate the feeling of heaviness in your belly, keep your spine straight, and avoid back pain problems.

Ideally, place the pregnancy pillow along your body, rest your belly up on it and pass the extremity between your legs. This way, you will also avoid putting all the weight from one leg on the other.

If you find that the pregnancy pillow is too bulky in your bed, use two small pillows: one to rest your belly on, and the second to place between your legs.

3. sleeping with elevated legs

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As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience, for example, heavy legs, water retention, leg cramps or swollen feet. If you suffer from poor blood circulation and your feet swell, you can try to sleep with your legs elevated, by supporting them on cushions. This will help blood circulation and also prevent varicose veins, pinches or cramps in the lower part of your body.

4. sleeping with a lifted head

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If you suffer from discomforts such as heartburn, gastritis, acid reflux, or gastrointestinal disorders related to poor digestion during pregnancy, don’t stress! These are very common symptoms. Acquiring a half-seated or reclining position with additional pillows under the head or support cushions will help you relieve these discomforts and get some rest.

Which positions should you avoid during pregnancy?

Sleeping on your back

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If you have a habit to sleep on your back, you can only do so during the first few weeks of pregnancy, because your uterus has not yet grown and does not put pressure on the vena cava. Place a pillow under your right hip and leave your legs and feet turned to the left side.

But from the second trimester of your pregnancy, your growing uterus further compresses the vena cava, which will have a negative effect on your breathing quality and reduce oxygen transmission to your baby.

Sleeping on your back can also cause pain and even serious back problems. It promotes hemorrhoids development and hypotension in the digestive tract, and can even cause a decrease in blood flow to your heart and that of your baby.

sleeping on your abdomen

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It is as well one of the most inappropriate sleeping positions during pregnancy, many pregnant women find it comfortable during the first few weeks, but with a belly that gets enlarged over the months, some women no longer manage to sleep in this position.

Sleeping on your belly during pregnancy does not put your unborn baby at risk, it is up to you to decide if you are comfortable in this position, which is not always obvious at the end of pregnancy when your belly takes up more and more space.

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