how to sleep when pregnant

How to Sleep When Pregnant

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Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life. But it can also be a time when sleep is elusive and rest is hard to come by. Whether you’re a first-time mom or an experienced pro, these nine months can be quite challenging. 

Luckily, there are some handy tips on how to sleep when pregnant that can help you get the Zz you need.

How to Sleep When Pregnant

1. Sleeping positions

There’s no universal answer to the question of what is the best sleeping position while pregnant. It can vary depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

While sleeping on your back can put too much pressure on the spine and internal organs, and sleeping on your stomach is simply not comfortable when you have a baby bump, there are quite a few benefits to sleeping on your left side.

For one, it can help to improve circulation and reduce back pain. Additionally, left-side sleeping can also help to minimize the risk of stillbirth and other pregnancy complications. 

2. Sleep by trimester

There are a lot of things happening in your body right now, and each month can bring challenges when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to have trouble sleeping, especially as their pregnancy progresses. So how can you sleep well during each stage of your pregnancy? Let’s find out.

During the first trimester, your body is going through a lot of changes: hormones are surging, and your womb is growing to accommodate your baby. As a result, you may find it difficult to fall asleep, and you may wake up frequently throughout the night. 

As energy levels normalize many women find that they can sleep more soundly in the second trimester. However, as the baby grows, it may begin to press on the bladder, leading to frequent trips to the bathroom. 

During these times, your growing belly may make it difficult to sleep on your stomach or back. Sleeping on your side is still the best option, but you may want to experiment with different types of pillows to find one that is most comfortable for you. 

As you go into the third trimester, you may find it hard to sleep due to both physical discomfort and anxiety about labor and delivery. To help you ease anxiety, talk about your concerns with your partner or another trusted individual. You can also write down your thoughts in a journal before bed.

As far as physical discomfort goes, there are a few different sleeping positions that can help alleviate pain in the lower back and hips: sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees; sleeping on your left side with a pillow under your stomach, or sleeping on all fours (which may not be very comfortable but can be effective nonetheless). 

Whichever position you choose, make sure that you are not lying flat on your back, as this can put too much pressure on veins in the uterus and lead to decreased blood flow to the baby.

3. Factors that affect pregnancy sleep

Many factors may prevent expecting women from sleeping well during pregnancy. Some common culprits include:

  • hormonal changes – such as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and relaxin. hCG is produced by the placenta and it maintains the pregnancy. Relaxin is a hormone that helps to loosen the ligaments in the body in preparation for childbirth.
  • frequent urination – this is due to the increasing size of the baby and the pressure it puts on the bladder
  • abdominal or back pain.
  • calf cramps- may be caused by the position of the baby, changes in your hormones, or dehydration.
  • gastro-esophageal reflux – known also as heartburn is a condition that can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in the esophagus. This sensation is often most pronounced when lying down and can be accompanied by a sense of fullness or pressure in the chest.
  • uncontrolled movement of the legs or restless leg syndrome (RLS) – Women with (RLS) experience sensations like crawling, tickling, or itching that make them want to move their legs.

4. Pregnancy pillows 

Pregnancy pillows come in all shapes and sizes and can be extremely helpful in supporting your body during pregnancy. There are many different types available on the market, and each one has its unique benefits.

Body pillows are long, rectangular pillows that can be wrapped around your body to provide support for your back, hips, and belly.

U-shaped pillows are designed to support your entire body and can be especially helpful in relieving pain in your lower back and hips. These pillows are great for side sleepers. Additionally, U-shaped pillows offer contoured support that mimics the shape of a pregnancy bump. These pillows can be beneficial in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Wedge pillows are smaller, triangular-shaped pillows that can be placed under your back or belly for additional support. 

The C-shaped pillow provides extended support when compared to a standard rectangular body pillow. It works similarly to the U-shaped pillow but without the second side.

5. Tips that can help with insomnia 

It is not uncommon for expecting women to experience occasional bouts of insomnia. Fortunately, there are a few tips that you can follow and get a better night’s sleep

  • Try to follow a regular sleep schedule as much as you can. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can be very beneficial for your body.
  • Wind down for half an hour before lights out. Reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to calm music will help you relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the evening, as well as large meals or strenuous exercise right before bed. 
  • Be active during the day

Sleeping well during pregnancy can be a challenge, but it’s important for both you and your baby. Following these simple tips will help you get better rest and make surviving these 9 months just a little bit easier. So, don’t forget to: 

  • Understand how your body changes throughout pregnancy and what factors can affect sleep
  • Experiment with different sleep positions.
  • Use supportive pillows.
  • Establish a consistent sleep routine
how to sleep when pregnant pregnancy pillow

How to Sleep When Pregnant?

1. Get plenty of exercise during the day

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed

3. Establish a regular sleep schedule

4. Create a relaxing bedtime routine

5. Invest in a comfortable pregnancy pillow

6. Sleep on your left side to improve blood flow

7. Use noise-canceling headphones to block out distractions

FAQ

1. Can I hurt my baby by sleeping on my right side?

There is no evidence that sleeping on the right side can hurt your baby. In fact, a 2019 study showed no difference in safety between sleeping on the left or right side. However, there is a slight risk of compression issues with the inferior vena cava (IVC) when you sleep on the right side. This is mostly a matter of personal preference, so find what position is most comfortable for you and your baby.

2. Can a pregnant woman lay on her back while sleeping?

Yes, a pregnant woman can be lying on her back while sleeping. However, she should avoid doing so for long periods. 

3. What position should be avoided during pregnancy?

It is generally recommended that pregnant women avoid lying in the supine position (on their back) after 28 weeks, as the weight of the uterus can compress the inferior vena cava and impede blood flow. Lying on your back can lead to low birth weight, preeclampsia, reduced fetal growth, and even stillbirth. However, there are exceptions to every rule and some women find they are more comfortable sleeping on their back late in pregnancy. If you are one of these women and if you have questions, talk to your doctor about ways to promote healthy blood flow and reduce the risk of complications.

4. What happens if you accidentally sleep on your back while pregnant? 

Don’t worry if you wake up on your back. Most doctors agree that if you find yourself in this position for a brief period of time, any harm to the baby is likely minimal. However, it is always best to try and sleep on your side to avoid any potential problems.

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