Pregnancy affects many organs and functions of the body, including sleep, which can become irregular and severe during all nine months. For those women who like to sleep a lot or sleep too sensitively, good sleep can become a very unpleasant problem. Especially, considering the fact that during the first trimester a woman almost constantly wants to sleep, and during the third it is not very convenient, as big tummy interferes with finding a comfortable position for sleep. So, how to sleep when pregnant?
The Importance of Sleep during Pregnancy
It’s not a secret that everyone needs a good night rest, because at night the body recovers the resources spent during the day. Chronic lack of sleep can cause a variety of diseases. Therefore, the need for a healthy sleep is vitally important.
During pregnancy, this issue becomes even more important. The burden on the female body during this period is simply enormous. It works in a strengthened mode, and already from the first weeks of pregnancy the future mother feels all these changes by increasing fatigue and an irresistible desire to take a nap.
During pregnancy, when healthy sleep is so important for a woman and her future baby, there are plenty reasons why mom cannot fall asleep. Heart palpitations increase, the number of urges to urinate increases, nervousness and anxiety increase as well, digestion worsens. And after all, the growing abdomen starts to deliver obvious discomfort and interferes with choosing a comfortable pose for sleep.
However, it is necessary to take care of insomnia and sleep disturbances during pregnancy. In this article we will talk about how to sleep when pregnant to make it convenient and safe.
The 1st Trimester
In the early stages, while the fetus is still very small, a woman can sleep in any convenient position. You can sleep on the stomach only during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy. In the first trimester the uterus is protected from squeezing by pubic and pelvic bones, and the bladder takes all the strokes and pressure. The only thing that can bring a pregnant woman discomfort is the soreness and increased sensitivity of the breast. That’s why many women abandon their favorite sleeping position from the beginning of the first trimester of pregnancy.
The 2nd Trimester
By the twelfth week, the uterus begins to go beyond the pubic symphysis. Although the fetus is reliably protected from external pressure by fatty tissue, the uterus wall and amniotic fluid, still, from the second trimester sleep on the stomach is not desirable.
How to Sleep when Pregnant: The 3rd Trimester
From 25-28 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus begins to grow actively, you should not sleep on your back as well, because such a sleeping position can cause the following:
- Impairment of blood circulation in the placenta. As a result, the fetus may suffer from oxygen starvation (hypoxia);
- Development of hemorrhoids, venous stasis and swelling in the lower extremities, varicose veins and even thrombophlebitis;
- Aching pain in the back;
- Lowering blood pressure. As a result, there is the appearance of dizziness, weakness, darkening in the eyes, noise in the ears, rapid breathing, severe sweating, and nausea (possibly even vomiting);
- The appearance of problems with digestion (since the uterus squeezes the intestine and its large blood vessels);
- Violation of the kidneys and the heart.
The complications described above occur due to the fact that with a sleep on the back, the enlarged uterus is pressed against the spine, squeezing the lower vena cava and the aorta. The pinch of the inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower extremities up to the heart, causes a decrease in the return of venous blood to the heart. As a result, the blood pressure goes down, the blood in the veins stagnates, the uterine and renal blood flow decreases.
During this period it is recommended to sleep on the left side, periodically turning over to the right side.
The sleeping position is so individual that for one woman it will be more comfortable to sleep on the right side, to another the baby will signal with the help of kicks that it is inconvenient for him/her to be in this position, and then it is better to roll over on the other side.
How to Sleep when Pregnant?
Lying on the left side is considered to be the most comfortable and safe position for sleeping during pregnancy. That’s how the blood circulation is properly done, which means that neither the fetus nor the mother suffers. The baby gets oxygen and all the necessary substances, because nothing interferes with the circulation of blood in this position. In addition, there is no pressure on the liver, and the back and pelvis do not hurt after sleeping.
In the transverse presentation, doctors advise sleeping on the side where the baby’s head is located. But, of course, it is impossible to stay in one position all night, and you do not need to: change positions. It is recommended to turn from side to side 3-4 times per night.
With varicose veins, edema and leg cramps, it is recommended to put a pillow under the feet during rest to allow blood to flow away from the lower extremities.
It is impossible to control the position of your body during sleep, so a special pillow for pregnant women might be very useful. After the baby’s birth the pillow can be very helpful during feeding.
Can One Sleep on the Stomach during Pregnancy?
Women who used to sleep on the stomach will have to give up their habit. In early pregnancy, while the uterus is still below the level of the pubic bone, you can sleep in any position, including the abdomen. But later, when the stomach starts to increase, sleep on the stomach will not be possible. Most likely, you will have to change your sleep position even earlier, since enlarged mammary glands can become quite painful when touched and squeezed.
It will be impossible to sleep on the stomach in the second trimester, because the enlarged abdomen will not allow you to lie comfortably in the usual pose. In addition, the pressure on the fetus in this position is very dangerous.
Sleeping on the back during pregnancy
Sleeping on the back for a pregnant woman is much more convenient than on the stomach, but it is fraught with unpleasant sensations. You may feel lack of air. In this position, the uterus presses on the bladder and blood vessels, which complicates blood circulation. Stagnation of blood in the small pelvis can occur and varicose veins become worse. The appearance of pain in the back and exacerbation of hemorrhoids is also possible. Sleep on the back does not greatly affect your future baby, but can deliver a lot of problems and inconveniences to the mom.
How to Sleep when Pregnant: Special Pregnancy Pillow
Nowadays, there are many options for pillows on sale, but during pregnancy a woman needs a special version of this bedding, because during this period the anatomy of her body is changing. Therefore, a special pillow for pregnant women was developed.
Pregnancy pillows offer support where your body truly needs it. This means more rest for a woman. Some pillows are soft, others are firm and offer resistance, and some have even feature cooling technology. There are different kinds of pillows to choose from. U-shape pillows are perfect for sleeping on your back, while C-shape pillows can be more comfortable for sleeping on your side. There are knee pillows, pregnancy wedges, back pillows, memory-foam options, and even pillows that work well during breastfeeding.
Recommendations for a Good Sleep
To have a good night’s sleep during pregnancy, even in spite of a new, unusual for you pose, in the daytime a pregnant woman should do what will cause her body to completely switch off for night rest.
- You should have a proper, healthy diet. Do not overeat: eat often, but in small portions.
- Between night rest and the last reception of food not less than 3 hours should pass. Thus the stomach will have time to digest the food and will not distract an organism from a dream.
- Before going to bed, give up drinks with high caffeine content, give up carbonated sweet water. Better drink a glass of warm milk with honey before going to bed.
- Regularly do special physical exercises for pregnant women. They will ensure a quick and sound sleep. Practice gymnastics in the afternoon, because before the night rest there must pass some time for full relaxation.
- Before going to bed, give up intensive mental activity, including books and TV. Better, listen to calm, quiet, pleasant music in the evening. It will adjust you to the right mood, allow you to relax and prepare for bed.
- Follow the regime of the day. A certain schedule will set up the body to fall asleep and wake up at the same time. Do not sleep during the day. So, later you will not suffer from insomnia at night.
- Walk more in the fresh air. Walking outside before going to bed, as well as airing the bedroom, sleeping with an open window during the warm season will make your sleep deep, calm and strong.
- In the evening, take a warm, but by no means hot bath. And after 20-30 minutes you can go to bed and rest.
- Aromatherapy also helps to improve sleep.
- Wear comfortable and pleasant to the body clothes at night. Pajamas or nightgown should be made of high-quality and natural material.
- Do not take any sleeping pills without consulting a doctor. After all, most of these medications are contraindicated during pregnancy.
- Your correct psychological attitude, optimism, peace of mind, good mood – this is the guarantee of a calm, full sleep. And it is important not only for you, but also for your baby.