Advice on the sleep positions recommended for pregnancy with information on the use of maternity pillows and medical advice.
Getting a good nights sleep while you are pregnant can seem like an almost impossible task. Especially because finding a sleeping position that is comfortable for more than 5 minutes is difficult to say the least! Unfortunately, this is only likely to get worse as your pregnancy progresses and your tummy expands. However, all is not lost - with a combination of pillows and perseverance you may be able to get a comfortable nights sleep!
The sleeping position currently recommended by many health care professionals as the most suitable for pregnancy is lying on the left side of your body with your knees slightly bent. This position is seen as 'best' as it prevents the weight of your unborn baby putting pressure on your internal organs and on the blood vessel (called the inferior vena cava) that carries blood from your legs and feet back towards your heart. Pressure on this blood vessel caused by lying on your back for prolonged periods has been known to cause dizziness, shortness of breath and even low blood pressure.
If you usually sleep on your stomach or back this position may not seem very comfortable to begin with. It is however, beneficial for you and your baby. This is because lying on your left side relieves pressure from your liver and kidneys, improving the circulation of blood and nutrients around your body and to the placenta and expelling fluid and waste products more effectively, reducing swelling and water retention.
As sleeping on your back causes your uterus to put pressure on your intestines, side sleeping also helps to improve digestion and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Additionally, for those in the early stages of pregnancy side sleeping can be more comfortable for tender breasts and also help to relieve nausea.
If you are not naturally a side sleeper it is a good idea to get used to sleeping in this position early on in pregnancy so that by the time you reach your second trimester and have a growing bump to contend with you know how to make yourself comfortable.
As your pregnancy progresses placing a pillow between your legs to provide support for your hips, one under your bump and one just under your lower back can relieve pressure and aches and help to make you more comfortable. A phenomenal range of maternity pillows and wedges are available and these can double up as nursing pillows when your baby is born. Alternatively, using regular household pillows is a good and economical alternative. Memory foam sheets that sit on top of your mattress can also reduce pressure on your joints and help to make you more comfortable.
Alternatively, if your partner feels left out of your pillow made fortress you could try lying on your side with your bump resting on their side or back as many find that this does just as good a job as a pillow.
You should not worry about rolling onto your back during the night as you are likely to wake yourself up if you are in any discomfort. However, if you find yourself in a back position you should roll over into the side position before you go back to sleep. If you find it really difficult to sleep on your side even with the help of strategically placed maternity pillows you should seek advice from your health care professional.
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