Updated: Feb 9
As your belly grows week after week, finding the right comfortable sleeping position and getting a good night's sleep can get trickier. The list of do's and don't during pregnancy can already be challenging and confusing enough for all pregnant women, and finding the proper sleeping position is no exception. There are a lot of myths around each position; you don't know which is right or which is not. If one source says a sleeping position is acceptable, another says it should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, concluding the correct position has become a hassle for many pregnant women.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the proper sleeping position and positions to avoid and dig deeper into how to sleep better during pregnancy.
Getting the right position
From waking up in the middle of the night to going for pee to leg cramps and backaches to many other factors, a pregnant woman's sleep is affected by many things. However, there is one position that can help relieve all of these symptoms and allow you to sleep soundly at night. But remember that every woman's body is different, and it is better to understand what your body wants and likes rather than forcing it to do so.
SOS, which stands for Sleep on Side, is one of the best sleeping positions during pregnancy and is recommended by doctors worldwide. It is considered the best sleeping position because it allows for adequate circulation for you and your baby. The SOS position relieves pressure on your veins and internal organs while alleviating lower back pain, a common problem for pregnant women.
Choosing between sleeping on your left or right side position
Sleeping on your left side, as opposed to your right, is often referred to as the optimal sleeping position for women because it can help increase blood flow to the placenta and develop the foetus. The weight of the uterus does not press on the inferior vena cava, a large vein that transports blood from the lower body to the heart when a pregnant woman sleeps on her left side. This helps ensure adequate blood flow reaches the placenta and develops the foetus. Additionally, sleeping on the left side can help to relieve pressure on the liver and improve kidney function, which can help to reduce swelling and improve digestion.
That is not to say that sleeping on your right is unsafe. Sleeping on the right side is also considered safe during pregnancy, but it is not as beneficial as sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on your left side is preferable to sleeping on your right side because it puts less strain on the liver and may be less effective in increasing blood flow to the placenta and developing foetus.
What sleeping positions should you avoid while pregnant?
1. Sleeping on your back
According to research, sleeping on your back in the third trimester increases your risk of stillbirth. Sleeping on your back after the third trimester causes back pain, breathing issues, digestive issues, haemorrhoids, low blood pressure, and decreased circulation to your heart and baby. There is a possibility that one may develop sleep apnea as a result of weight gain. It is best to sleep on your side in the third trimester because it is safer for you and your baby.
2. Sleeping on your stomach
Since your breasts become more tender and your abdomen continuously grows, sleeping on your stomach is truly a nightmare and indeed not recommended as it can cause a lot of pain in the neck and spine and put a lot of pressure on your stomach.
Reasons for your discomfort during pregnancy include
Sleeping at night during pregnancy can be difficult for many women, and the following factors may contribute to your discomfort:
Back pain: As the pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus can significantly strain the lower back, causing pain and discomfort while sleeping.
Round ligament pain: During pregnancy, the round ligaments that support the uterus can become stretched and painful, causing discomfort while sleeping.
Insomnia due to the uterus's size and weight: The weight and size of the uterus increase throughout pregnancy, making it hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
Nausea and vomiting: Most pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, which makes sleeping difficult.
Fatigue: Fatigue can make it difficult to sleep or stay asleep during pregnancy.
Stress and anxiety: Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and stress and anxiety can make falling and staying asleep difficult.
Acid reflux: Pregnancy hormones can relax the muscles in the oesophagus, causing acid reflux and discomfort while sleeping.
Frequent urination: The expanding uterus can pressure the bladder throughout pregnancy, resulting in frequent urination and sleep discomfort.
Sleeping better with pregnancy
Limit caffeine: Avoid drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverage during pregnancy. Though it can interfere with your sleep, it has a more significant impact on the development of your growing foetus.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but try to limit your intake a couple of hours before bedtime to avoid waking up to use the restroom.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes: 30 minutes of walking, light yoga, or pilates can help you sleep better at night. However, getting a consultation with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity is recommended. Remember not to exercise within four hours of going to bed.
Relaxing activities: A warm bath or a foot/shoulder massage can help you relax and reduce stress during pregnancy, allowing you to sleep better at night.
Set the mood for good sleep: Ensure that your room is well-lit, as it will give you a good rest. Remove any electronic device from your bedroom to avoid unwanted distractions. This can assist you in better wrapping up your day and drifting off to sleep peacefully.
Every woman's body is unique, as is her pregnancy. It's important to note that as the pregnancy progresses, the woman may find it more comfortable to sleep in different positions, which is perfectly normal. If you have any questions or concerns about sleeping positions or pregnancy in general, don't hesitate to reach out to us. With the best gynaecologist experts in Pune, we offer state-of-the-art services and quality care for all our patients.
About The Author: Dr. Ujwala Patil
Dr. Ujwala Patil provides specialist advice in gynecology and obstetrics. She is the founder of Polaris Health Care and is an experienced gynecologist and obstetrician. She completed her M.B.B.S. from the renowned B.J. Medical College, Pune. She has undergone F.O.G.S.I. training in Infertility and is certified in Cervical cytology and colonoscopy.
She has also been empaneled as a gynecologist at Surya and Life point hospitals. She has handled many high-risk obstetric cases and has conducted more than 1000 deliveries. Her expert advice dipped in care is accessible to women from all walks of life.