How are You Supposed to Sleep When Pregnant?
Pregnancy places huge stress on the body. It is extremely important to get plenty of good, quality sleep when pregnant, and the position you sleep in can greatly affect this.
Pregnant women often have a difficult time finding a position that is comfortable for them while they are sleeping, and they may have to change their habits as their pregnancy progresses. Sleeping on your stomach is now a no-go, and sleeping on your back can be super uncomfortable.
So, how are you supposed to sleep when pregnant? Do not worry — we'll answer that question in this article as well as give you a few ideas to think about when considering your current sleeping habits and their impact on your body.
Sleeping on your side is the best position during pregnancy. Side sleeping is actually hugely beneficial for both pregnant and non-pregnant people alike. Sleeping on your side eases back tension, pain, and stiffness by allowing the spine to return to its natural position without any external force or torque.
Side sleeping, specifically on the left side of the body, also encourages maximized circulation and blood flow. Sleeping on the left also aids in digestion, because of where the colon is located in the body, sleeping on the left promotes the body’s realignment of the digestive tract and can aid in processing food.
It is said that sleeping on the left side is best for pregnant people because it increases the blood flow and amount of nutrients being provided to the placenta, which is best for the baby. While the left side may be preferable, both sides are fine for sleeping. While sleeping on either side is fine, there are some sleeping positions that are not recommended for pregnant people at all.
Pregnant people should not sleep on their backs or stomachs at all. This is because sleeping on your back can cause problems already exacerbated by pregnancy (such as low blood pressure, heartburn and shortness of breath) to continue or become worse.
Sleeping on your back does not help people with back problems, because it forces your spine into an unnatural position for an extended period of time, which will cause pain in people with misaligned spines. Shortness of breath can also be a problem for pregnant people while sleeping on their backs, because the extra weight of the child presses on the lungs and chest, making taking breaths more difficult.
Pregnant people should also not sleep on their stomachs. While sleeping in this position while pregnant is just plain uncomfortable, it can put extra physical pressure on you and your baby, which is not ideal for long periods of time such as sleeping through the night.
Tips and Tricks
There are some extra tips and tricks for pregnant people to get the most out of their sleeping positions.
Sleeping while propped up can solve a multitude of problems that arise with pregnant people while sleeping in otherwise ordinary positions. You can prop your head, your upper body, or your entire mattress up with pillows, extra blankets, books or other sturdy soft objects to elevate the esophagus and throat above the stomach. This will prevent stomach acid from creeping into the esophagus while you sleep, which then creates heartburn.
Some pregnant people prefer to wedge a pillow in between their knees for added comfort in the hips and the back.
A benefit of adding this pillow is that it will also prevent you from accidentally rolling into another position during the middle of the night. Another option is a special pregnancy pillow, which goes underneath the belly and between the knees to maximize a pregnant person’s comfort level while they sleep. This might be an option for pregnant people who are further along in their pregnancy or are finding sleeping while pregnant especially difficult.
Depending on the type of symptoms you are having during your pregnancy, it may take some trial and error to find which sleeping position suits you best. Play around with the suggestions listed above, and keep in mind your options when searching for the best place to rest your head.
As your pregnancy develops, also remember that your preferences may change, and your needs might adjust depending on your situation and how far along you are in your pregnancy. At the end of the day, each woman has to decide for themselves based on what makes them the most comfortable and what best supports their body.