As my pregnancy progressed, the pressure of my baby’s growing weight made it very difficult to sit, stand, move and most importantly ….sleep. In pregnancy, our body undergoes major changes. Frequent urination, weight gain, tender breasts and nausea, all make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. As a result, many women complain of fatigue and tiredness throughout the day.
As per a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (1998) on Women and Sleep, 78% of women are affected by sleep disturbances during pregnancy. Though this sleep anxiety grows as the weight of the baby increases, I suggest certain sleep positions that can be adopted to ease the discomfort.
Sleep positions in pregnancy
Sleeping on the left side
It is normal to feel sleepy in the first trimester. Our body is coping with the physical and hormonal changes and we often complain of drowsiness and fatigue. Though the sleep time increases, the quality of sleep becomes poor.
Doctors recommend sleeping on the left side as compared to the back or the right side. Sleeping on the right side puts pressure on the liver and is hence not advised. On the contrary, if you sleep on the left, the fetus gets healthy nutrients and oxygen through improved blood circulation. Also, bend your knees a little while sleeping; it will make you feel very comfortable. In case you cannot sleep on your left side due to back and nerve problems, change your position after a while.
Sleeping on your back
You can also sleep on your back in the first trimester if that position is comfortable. But as the pregnancy advances, sleeping on the back can pose numerous health problems. You could witness back and muscle pain, leading to swelling and hemorrhoids. The growing baby exerts pressure on the spine and blood vessels; sleeping on your back could alter the blood circulation of your body and the baby. If you suffer from breathing troubles and low blood pressure, the back position is a no-no. If other positions are difficult to sleep in due to some health conditions, prop pillows so that you do not lie absolutely flat. Moms-to-be can prop pillows and sleep on their back in the half sitting position. This eases the problem of heartburn which is common in pregnancy. Breathing is also easy in this position. There are comfy wedge-shaped pillows available in the market that will aid you in sleeping upright. After all, you need more comfort during this phase, so choose a position that suits you the most.
Sleeping on the belly
Imagine yourself sleeping downwards on a huge ball. Well, if we find the thought so uncomfortable, how will the actual sleep position be? Impossible. Though we manage to sleep in almost any position in the first trimester, our woes increase as the belly grows bigger. It is best to avoid this sleep position in late pregnancy. You would often find yourself getting up in strange and funny positions in pregnancy. It happens. Just adjust your position and go back to sleep. Sleeping on the left side is the safest position and you can start practicing this posture from the first trimester. Put several pillows below your knees or between your legs and make yourself absolutely comfortable while sleeping. Slow down with hectic schedules and consult your healthcare provider. Try simple yoga and relaxation before sleeping and get a good night’s sleep.