When a woman becomes an expecting mother, she changes a lot of things in her lifestyle. The kind of food she eats, the activities she does, even the way she sleeps. All of these changes are to ensure the health and well-being of both mommy and baby. In this article, we're going to look at the aspect of sleep for a pregnant woman.
Normally, sleeping on the back is the best position for your spine and back, but according to WebMD, the safest position to sleep when you're expecting is – not on your back, not on your stomach – but on your side.
It applies in particular to the fifth month, when sleeping on your back can cause your abdomen and uterus to push down on your other organs, and sleeping on your tummy can put pressure on your uterus itself.
Here are a few highly important factors that you must keep in your mind while sleeping during pregnancy. They will help you achieve a better sleep, maintain the right posture, and keep your baby happy:
A lot of experts recommend that women who are in their second or third trimesters of pregnancy not sleep on their backs. As mentioned earlier, this position can cause pressure on your intestines as well as major blood vessels, affecting circulation not only for the mother but also for the baby.
A study published in the Journal of Physiology suggests a connection between sleeping on the back and reduced heart rate variability in the fetus, which is not desirable. Some other problems associated with sleeping on your back during pregnancy are dizziness, hemorrhoids, and muscle aches.
Even if you are sleeping on your side, your body may require additional support especially as your belly grows and becomes heavier during your pregnancy. The answer: a right pregnancy pillow. Otherwise, you will need lots and lots of pillows. Use them between your knees, under your belly and anywhere else you need to get comfortable. With so many changes going on in your body, sleep may not come as quickly as it used to pre-pregnancy, so do whatever it takes to get comfortable!
As your pregnancy progresses, the size of your belly may cause shortness of breath when you lie down (especially if you sleep on your back). It can be reduced by propping your upper body higher with the help of pillows (thus reducing the pressure of gravity on your diaphragm), both when sleeping on your back and sleeping on the side.
One of the common side effects of pregnancy is heartburn. You can deal with this by changing the angle you sleep in so that your upper body is slightly raised – do this either by lifting the level of the head or the bed with the help of books or blocks or by propping yourself up with pillows. It keeps stomach acid down from coming up into your esophagus.
And of course, don't eat anything less than two hours before you go to sleep (this is considered good advice for anyone, not just pregnant women).
Some other things you may want to pay attention to, to ensure you catch the most quality Z's possible (since you'll be missing out on a lot once Junior arrives) are the lighting in your room and a quiet environment.
Get black-out curtains and make sure no artificial light from electronic devices or other sources are on. Try not to do anything strenuous or stimulating just before you sleep, so that the adrenaline won't still be pumping through your body when you're trying to wind down. Keep the room cool as your body can tend to heat up faster when pregnant than it would otherwise.
Having said that sleeping on your side is the best sleeping position during pregnancy, don't freak out if you happen to roll onto your back or (if you still can) your tummy during the night.
After all, none of us stays completely motionless when we're asleep. If you wake up and find yourself in another sleeping position, simply roll over onto your side and resume your night's rest.
Sleep is an essential part of the body's therapeutic process, and if you don't get enough, it can take a toll on your health, in turn affecting your baby's. So take care of your diet and routine, change habits that may prevent you from getting a good night's sleep, and remember that the healthier you are, the healthier your baby can be.