Congratulations on your pregnancy! Being pregnant is an exciting phase in every woman’s life. But as you progress through your pregnancy, certain things such as cravings, mood swings, and heartburn among others can make this journey a tad bit uncomfortable for you.
It’s no secret that getting enough rest is crucial throughout the trimesters if you are aiming for a healthy pregnancy. But as your belly starts to show, sleep may not come easy for some. Doctors and experts have always recommended that pregnant women sleep on their left side. Ever wondered why that is? Here, you will learn about the best sleep positions to follow during pregnancy, the reasons behind it, and how you can make it happen.
When I was pregnant with my little one, it was hard for me to get a good night’s sleep. More often than not, I would wake up feeling tired and exhausted. I was used to sleeping on my stomach. But since that wasn’t an option anymore, I was struggling to sleep on my back. And the constant urge to pee, backaches, and leg cramps made it even more challenging to get some shut-eye. That’s when my doctor suggested that I should sleep on my side, primarily on my left side during pregnancy.
Sleep Positions To Avoid
Here are some of the sleep positions to avoid during pregnancy:
- Sleeping on your back:If you’re used to sleeping on your back, it is time to change your sleeping position once you’re pregnant. In this position, your abdomen is resting on major blood vessels as well as your intestines, causing a decrease in blood circulation to your heart and your baby. Sleeping on your back will also result in backaches, shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, as well as problems with your digestive system (1).
- Sleeping on your stomach:If you are a stomach sleeper like me, you can continue to sleep on your stomach during your first trimester. But as your uterus expands and your belly grows, stomach sleeping may not be a viable option anymore. But unlike what some people believe, sleeping on your stomach is not going to harm your baby in any way. It’s just that it becomes impossible for you to do so in the second and third trimester (2).
Why Should You Sleep On Your Side?
Pregnant women are often advised to sleep on their side. It is more ideal to sleep on your left side during this time. But why? Sleeping on your left side will allow increased blood flow to the uterus, which in turn will increase the amount of nutrients and blood that reach your baby and the placenta. It will also take the pressure off from the liver while sleeping (3).
Tips On Comfortably Sleeping On Your Left
Different strategies and tips can make sleeping on your left a breeze. You can try the following:
1. Use A Pregnancy Pillow
There are a variety of pregnancy pillows available in the market that will help you sleep better during pregnancy. Pregnancy pillows are specially designed for side-sleeping positions and will give you the comfort and support you need.
2. Begin Early
The best thing you can do to cultivate the habit of sleeping on your left side is by starting early. You don’t have to wait for your second trimester to switch positions. Waiting until the last moment when it is absolutely necessary will put added pressure on you, making it more challenging. Since there are already several benefits to sleeping on your side, doing it early is the best way to go about it. This will help you in getting more comfortable in this position by identifying problems and finding solutions early on.
3. Ask Your Partner For Help
You can lean on to your partner to sleep on your side during pregnancy. While some women prefer pillows, others are cuddlers. Having a partner to lean on can make sleep more relaxing as well. You can also ask your partner to put you on your side if he ever finds you on your back in the middle of the night. A nice relaxing foot massage may also help in relaxing your mind and body before bedtime.
Sleeping on your side may take some time to get used to. If you are constantly finding it hard to sleep on your side, you can use pillows to elevate your torso so that you are sleeping in a semi-sitting position. Also, feel free to talk to your healthcare provider about any issues you might be facing that’s stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep.