One of the hardest things about pregnancy, is trying to get a good night’s sleep.
You’re hot and sweaty, uncomfortable, your hips are aching, and your heartburn gets worse when you lie down.
You end up wedged in with no fewer than fifteen pillows holding you in place, only to realise you need a wee as soon as you’ve turned the light off.
On the rare occasions you are tired enough to overcome all of these sleep hurdles, the baby starts doing acrobatics and using your bladder as a trampoline.
So, with all of that in mind, I’m now going to (hesitantly and politely) tell you about the best way to sleep during pregnancy.
Please don’t throw anything at the screen in anger, I’m just trying to help.
Sleeping On Your Tummy During Pregnancy
During the early stages of pregnancy, it’s fine to sleep on your tummy. By the time it becomes dangerous to your baby, you will be too uncomfortable doing it anyway! Trying to sleep on your belly at eight months pregnant would be a sight fit for any touring circus.
Sleeping On Your Back During Pregnancy
You don’t really need to worry about your sleeping position at all during your first trimester. Once you’re into the second trimester though, you’ll need to avoid sleeping on your back. When you lie on your back, your uterus puts pressure on the vein that returns blood to your heart. If you lie in this position for long periods, this could restrict the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your placenta and baby. It could also leave you feeling dizzy and nauseous.
Sleeping On Your Right Hand Side During Pregnancy
Lying on your right hand side is much better than sleeping on your front or back during the later stages of pregnancy, but is still not as good as sleeping on your left. This is because, sleeping on your right hand side can puts pressure on your liver which most Doctors would prefer you to avoid.
Sleeping On Your Left Hand Side During Pregnancy
Doctors and midwives recommend sleeping on your left hand side. This position prevents the heavy uterus putting pressure on your liver, and continues to allow the baby to receive the right amount of nutrients and oxygen through the placenta. In fact, not only does this position not restrict blood flow, it actually improves circulation which means your body won’t have to work as hard to ensure you have optimal blood flow for you and your baby.
A study in Auckland, New Zealand, found that sleeping on the left hand side on the last night of pregnancy, halved the risk of stillbirth. Since you don’t usually know when your last night of pregnancy will be, it’s best to sleep on your left hand side during the later stages of pregnancy, just in case.
Don’t worry if you do as you’re told, and make sure you fall asleep on your left hand side, only to wake up on your right. There’s nothing you can do to stop yourself turning over in your sleep (although for lots of you, the giant bump might help out with that!) so don’t get upset or worry about it. As long as you spend most of the night on your left, you should be ok, so each time you wake up on your right, simply (or with the help of your partner and some kind of pulley system) turn back onto your left before you go back to sleep.
Having A Good Nights Sleep During Pregnancy
For the toss and turners amongst you, pregnancy can be very restrictive. When you’re over tired and uncomfortable, it can be frustrating to know you need to stay in one position all night, and this can make it harder to get to sleep. To prevent that from happening, and to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, there are some things you can do. Try having a relaxing bath before bed, this will calm you down and help you to feel rested. Drinking a hot drink, like a fruit tea, will also help you to feel relaxed. If you’re suffering from pelvic girdle pain, or general aches and pains, ask your partner to give you a massage just before you go to sleep. Hopefully this should rid you of the discomfort long enough for you to fall asleep.