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Tips on How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can really take a physical toll on your body. Morning sickness, swollen feet, back pain, and odd cravings are typically reported during the first trimester. Still, as you progress into the second and third trimesters, you will notice that even everyday tasks can become more challenging to complete. […]

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can really take a physical toll on your body. Morning sickness, swollen feet, back pain, and odd cravings are typically reported during the first trimester. Still, as you progress into the second and third trimesters, you will notice that even everyday tasks can become more challenging to complete. For example, getting a good night’s rest can seem impossible, primarily if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach. So, what is the best way to ensure that you are getting a full night’s sleep? The answer may differ for each mother-to-be, but today we are sharing some of the best tips on how to sleep better when pregnant.

Why Is Sleep So Important During Pregnancy?

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for everyone, but it’s imperative during pregnancy. Sleep is the time when your body resets and repairs itself, making it an ally in your battle against “baby brain.” During pregnancy, your blood vessels are under increased pressure from the extra blood flow required to support your growing baby, and the best time for restoration is while you sleep.

Getting a whole night’s rest also helps to support your immune system–which is suppressed to support pregnancy. Your eight hours of shut-eye also controls how your body reacts to insulin; not getting enough rest can increase blood sugar levels, upping your risk of gestational diabetes.

Best & Worst Pregnancy Sleeping Positions

When it comes to sleeping positions, finding the right one can be difficult during pregnancy. Most pregnant women opt for sleeping on their sides, but as the weeks progress, even this position may cause discomfort. Here are the best and worst sleeping positions for moms-to-be:

Worst Sleeping Positions While Pregnant

 

  • Sleeping on your back: If you are used to sleeping on your back, there may be an adjustment period where you struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can cause problems with backaches, breathing, the digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, and cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your growing abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels. So when is it time to stop sleeping on your back during pregnancy? Always consult your doctor, but back-sleeping should be avoided as soon as your belly starts to grow. 
  • Sleeping on your stomach: When you are farther along in your pregnancy, your breasts become larger and more tender and your abdomen continues to grow, making sleeping on your tummy nearly impossible. Using a donut-shaped pillow (with a hole in the middle) may help you sleep comfortably on your stomach. However, past your first trimester, it becomes impossible to lie on your stomach for obvious reasons.

Best Sleeping Positions While Pregnant

 

  • Sleeping on your left side: Experts have traditionally said that the best sleep position when you’re expecting is on your left side because it allows for maximum blood flow and nutrient absorption to the placenta. Sleeping on your left side can enhance kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in your feet, ankles and hands.
  • Sleeping on your right side: Although your left side is the recommended option, if you find yourself tossing and turning, it is perfectly acceptable to switch to your right side. Essentially, as long as you are sleeping on your side, you should be 

5 Tips on Comfortable Sleeping Positions

A good night’s rest is more than finding a comfortable sleeping position. If you are sleeping on your side and still having issues, here are some other tips to help you a healthy amount of rest each night:

1. Stay active: It’s important to stay active during pregnancy and doing so may help you to fall asleep more easily.

2. Set the mood: Create an environment to help you feel relaxed. A relaxing environment should be dark, quiet, and peaceful to help encourage sleep. Try to avoid scrolling on your phone right before bed.

3. Prevent heartburn: Eat smaller, more frequent meals during pregnancy and try to avoid eating three hours before bedtime to prevent heartburn or other reflux symptoms that are common during pregnancy. There are safe over-the-counter solutions for heartburn as well (Tums, or Gaviscon).

4. Practice relaxation: You can practice relaxation techniques or even relax by treating yourself to a prenatal or pregnancy massage.

5. Use the right pillow: Pregnancy pillows fall into two categories: wedge and full-length (body pillows and oversized C- or U- shaped varieties).

  • Wedge-size pillows are smaller in size and more affordable in price. The upside of a wedge pillow is that it takes up less space in the bed, so it won’t disrupt your partner’s sleep. The downside of this type of pillow is that it can only support one part of you at a time. Wedge pillows reduce back strain by sliding under your belly to support your growing bump while sleeping on your side. You can also place a wedge pillow behind you to prevent rolling onto your back or use it between your knees to ease lower back pain.
  • Full-length pregnancy pillows run the entire length of your body. Different types of full-length pillows range in price, comfort, and functionality. Some women find relief and support through traditional body pillows, which seem to be the mid-range option for comfort and affordability.

Conclusion

Throughout pregnancy, your body changes every day, and it’s essential to make lifestyle changes to ensure a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. Hopefully, the tips and pointers in this blog have shown you how to sleep better when pregnant with your child. If you have followed these tips and continue to have trouble sleeping during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.

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Closeup of a couple embracing the mother’s pregnant belly.