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Turn Left, Turn Right How To Sleep During Pregnancy

Dr. Rubina Zaib

2 min read

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Sleeping with a blown-up belly is already a challenge within itself. Throw in some back pain, heartburn, leg cramps and breathing troubles, and most women become insomniacs before the baby is even born. Whether it is the 1st trimester or the last leg of pregnancy, according to doctors, how to maneuver the rocky seas of sleep for mothers-to-be:

How You Should Sleep:

SOS (Sleep On Side)

Since the Vena Cava and Aorta (major blood vessels) are located on the right side of the spine, sleeping left side down allows uninterrupted blood and nutrient flow to the foetus. Bend your legs and knees with a pillow between your legs for added comfort. You can also place another pillow under your abdomen to relieve back pain, reduce swelling and improve kidney function. In case of heartburn or shortness of breath, elevate your upper body with pillows to confine heartburn-causing acids to the stomach and place a pillow beneath your side to raise the chest.

It should be noted that during the first trimester you can generally safely sleep in any position but it is good to start getting used to sleeping on your side. During your second trimester, make sure your mattress is firm so your back doesn’t sag when you lay down. If you truly cannot sleep while laying on your side, then consider using some pillows to prop yourself up at a 45 degree angle. This way there will be no pressure on you IVC and you will be able to sleep on your back.

How You Shouldn’t Sleep:

1- On Your Back:

Lying flat, especially for women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters, results in the compression of major blood vessels and the intestines by the heavy uterus. This causes a drop or rise in blood pressures of both the mother and the baby, back pain, breathing difficulties, hemorrhoids, swelling and snoring that might also lead to sleep apnea, in some cases. According to a 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal by University of Auckland and Wellington Medical School researchers, chances of stillbirth are doubled in women who sleep frequently on their back or right side. This is, however, a relatively rare instance-4 in 1,000-and requires further study.

2- On Your Stomach:

Although sleeping face-down is near impossible and highly uncomfortable further into pregnancy owing to a stiff and inflated abdomen, habitual belly sleepers risk putting additional pressure on the baby thereby exposing them to minor damages, developmental problems and miscarriage, in serious cases.

Sleep on your right if you’re more comfortable with it, and don’t panic if you accidentally roll over onto your back or belly while sleeping. Simply fix your position and go back to sleep. It is important to note that it is impossible to strictly remain in one position throughout the night so its perfectly fine if you shift and change. The idea is to not spend the entire night in a harmful position and to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any abnormalities. There are a large number of concerns that pop up during pregnancy and sleeping position is not the most crucial, especially since it is unlikely that you will be able to sleep for a long period of time thanks to the insomnia and bathroom breaks.

Other Sleep-Friendly Measures:

1- Avoid Late-Night Munching:

Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime and minimize fluid intake in the evening to keep acid reflux, heartburn and frequent urination during sleep at bay.

2- Don’t Lie Uselessly:

If you can’t sleep, walk around the house or do simple, boring chores like folding laundry to help you sleep during pregnancy.

3- Take Short Naps (30 minutes each)

Any longer and you might enter into a state of deep sleep, causing difficulty in waking up and grogginess.

4- Tummy Massage:

Your baby is more likely to kick at night when your body is rest. Gently massage your belly and breathe deeply to calm the baby.

5- Leg Cramps:

Stretching out the calf muscles or pressing your feet against a wall may help subside sudden sleep-interrupting leg cramps.

6- Cut Out Sodas And Other Caffeinated Drinks:

Cut these out in order to have an easier time falling asleep. If you absolutely must have them then make sure you drink them in the morning, as far away from bed time as possible.

Appropriate periods of uninterrupted sleep during pregnancy can prove to be very useful. If you would like to discuss your sleep patterns with a doctor, you can book an appointment with a Top Gynecologist in Islamabad, Multan and Karachi through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your gestational needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Rubina Zaib
Dr. Rubina Zaib - Author Dr. Rubina Zaib is a Gynecologist practicing in Lahore. Dr. Rubina Zaib has the following degrees: MBBS, DGO and has 35 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Dr. Rubina Zaib by calling us or using the 'book appointment' button.

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