Sleeping at night while pregnant can be a hassle, but we figured out the best sleeping position in pregnancy. There are so many issues that come with being pregnant that you may not have even known about, and sleeping is probably one of them. When you first discover you are pregnant, you may notice that sleep seems to be harder to come by. And this can be for a variety of reasons, but don’t worry, we can help you get a better sleep.
What is causing Sleeping Problems?
Your changing body is probably going to be the culprit for all of your sleeping woes. Many women struggle with the side effects of being pregnant, and these side effects can be difficult to overcome. There are a few common problems that can cause issues with sleeping when pregnant.
- Shortness of Breath
- Growing Belly
- Back Pain
Every single one of these problems can be traced back to your pregnancy. Heartburn can occur because your hormones are changing, causing your digestion to change. So food you could eat before you were pregnant, now make you have heartburn.
Shortness of breath can happen when your organs are being squashed by the growing baby. All of your muscles and organs have to move in order to accomodate the baby; so sometimes your lungs might be a little smushed. This can cause shortness of breath.
Some women are stomach sleepers, and when your belly starts to grow, you have to change your sleeping position because it is now uncomfortable. This messes up your routine, and changes what makes you feel comfortable. That can make you have trouble sleeping, because your body doesn’t like change.
Finally, back pain. This is also caused by the pressure that the growing fetus causes on the surrounding muscles.
All of these things can make it seem impossible to fall asleep quickly and easily, but it isn’t. There are a variety of ways you can adjust your sleeping position in pregnancy so that you can get a long and deep sleep.
Sleeping Positions to Avoid
Before we tell you what the best sleeping position in pregnancy is, we want to tell you what sleeping positions to avoid and why you want to avoid them. There are two main positions to avoid: sleeping on your back, and sleeping on your stomach.
Sleeping on Back
You have probably read that it is not ideal to sleep on your back, but why is that? Well, around the time you are 20 weeks pregnant, your stomach is large enough to cause pressure on your inferior vena cava. Your inferior vena cava is a blood vessel that brings blood flow to your heart. So what does this do? Well, according to Dr. Salena Zanotti, “the thought is if you have anything large that’s pushing against the blood flow return, you’ll have less blood flow to your heart. That means you’ll have less blood flow to yourself and the baby.” Not only does this happen, but the pressure can also cause back pain, indigestion, and breathing issues. So it is best to avoid sleeping on your back.
Sleeping on Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach, while not unsafe, just isn’t comfortable. According to midwife Liz Wilkes, “In early pregnancy, until you have a sizable bump, lying on your stomach is both safe and generally comfortable.” Some women may even decide to create a bolster that makes it comfortable for them to sleep in their stomach. So while it is not unsafe, in most cases it is not comfortable. Your stomach will begin to grow, and sleeping on it can cause discomfort after a while. And most women will decide to sleep in a different position instead of trying to bolster themselves so they can sleep on their stomach.
What Happens if You Lay In these Positions Accidentally?
Don’t worry. If you fall asleep laying on your side, or accidentally doze off sleeping on your back you will be ok. Hardly anyone goes to sleep and stays asleep all night in the same position, so while you are moving around you may end up on your back or stomach. If you are there for a few hours it is not a big deal. Your body will naturally wake you up and you can adjust yourself back to your side. Don’t worry too much, and don’t lose sleep over it, a few hours on your back or stomach is not going to hurt you or the baby.
If you are still concerned you could choose to use more than one pillow so that you can prevent yourself from rolling onto your backs while sleeping. You can do this by laying a second pillow behind you while you are on your side. This ensures that even if you do roll onto your back, you will not be lying completely flat.
Best Sleeping Position In Pregnancy
The best sleeping position in pregnancy is to lay on your side. But which side is the best to lay on? It is widely accepted that the best side to sleep on is the left side.
Sleeping on Left Side
Why is it better to lay on your left side versus your right side? Well, similar to laying on your back, the inferior vena cava actually runs along the right side of your body. In addition, your liver and kidneys lie on the right side of your body. Any sort of pressure on any of those organs can cause swelling, and other possible issues. Does that mean it is bad to lie on your right side while pregnant? Not necessarily. A 2019 study in EClinicalMedicine concluded that lying on either side while pregnant is pretty much equally safe. It really is up to you and what is most comfortable.
How to Get Comfortable on Left Side
Many women do not naturally fall asleep on their left side, so the change in sleeping position can cause discomfort and sometimes insomnia. The best way to combat this is by getting comfortable. So, how do you get comfortable?
Sleeping on your side can cause your back to twist and misalign, which can cause discomfort, to prevent this from happening many women invest in a pregnancy pillow. A pregnancy pillow is a long pillow that forms a hook shape at the top. Your head rests on the hook portion, and you elevate your leg by setting it on top of the pillow towards the bottom portion. This position has been found to provide the most comfort and eases your sleep.
We know the best sleeping position in pregnancy, but what about after you give birth? The best position, according to doctors, is a slightly elevated upper body. To do this you simply pile pillows under your shoulder and chest area so that you are sleeping at a slight angle. This prevents any sort of blocked airways and sleep apnea that is common after pregnancy.
Besides sleep you may also have other things to worry about after giving birth. Including how to recover faster. Well, thankfully we at Bellefit have got you covered. Many women struggle with their postpartum recovery journey, but postpartum girdles can help. The slight compression helps to ease pain and get you back on your feet sooner. That means you can get back to being your old self sooner than you could before. Check out Bellefit’s postpartum girdles to get back to being your best self.