My first and second pregnancies ended three weeks and one week early, respectively. Both infants weighed slightly more than 10 pounds 13 ounces. My third pregnancy, a twin pregnancy, ended six weeks early with a combined total birth weight of more than 13 pounds. Carrying big babies should have been the hardest part of pregnancy, but it wasn’t. I’m a stomach sleeper, which means I lay flat on my stomach to fall asleep. Finding a comfortable position outside my comfort zone was the most difficult part of pregnancy and it wasn’t until my third pregnancy that I realized some of the sleeping positions I’d tried during my pregnancy were the worst positions for pregnant women.
Why are Sleeping Positions Important?
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on the female body with back pain, difficulty sleeping and difficulty breathing all resulting from sleeping in the wrong position. Making a few simple changes to how you position your body in bed during pregnancy can relieve pain, improve sleep and improve circulation to baby.
Best Sleeping Positions
SOS. Without a doubt, the best sleeping position during pregnancy is SOS. SOS stands for sleep on side. Sleeping on your left side is ideal because the Vena Cava is located on the right side of your body and pressure and weight from your growing uterus can reduce blood flow to the fetus when you sleep on your right side.
The Pillow Prop. There’s nothing better than a carefully placed pillow during pregnancy, but where should pillows be placed to improve sleep and reduce strain? Experts agree that placing a pillow under your belly and behind your back are ideal for optimal sleep with reduced strain. However, as I reached the latter stages of my twin pregnancy, I found propping myself into a near seated position was the only way I could sleep. The twins kicked constantly, forcing stomach acid into my throat when I lay down. The heartburn was horrible and I often woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe from the burning in my throat.
Worst Sleeping Positions
SOS. Sleeping on your side is the best and worst option during pregnancy, depending on which side you choose. You should be sleeping on the left side only. Pressure on the Vena Cava, which is located on the right side of your body, can restrict blood flow to the fetus and cause dizziness, faintness and nausea for mom. This is especially important during the latter stages of pregnancy.
Back Sleepers and Stomach Sleepers. I’m sorry to say that back sleepers and stomach sleepers, like myself, won’t be able to find that normal comfort spot in the latter stages of pregnancy. Back sleeping places pressure on organs and blood vessels, this can lead to lowered blood pressure and nausea. Stomach sleeping is out of the question as your abdomen grows to the point where it becomes too big for comfortable sleep.
Changing How You Sleep and Recognizing Your New Comfort Spot
I found it helpful to change my sleeping position gradually during pregnancy. I recognized the fact that I would be unable to sleep on my stomach for more than a couple months, so I started slightly shifting to my left side during the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy. The gradual change made it easier to fall asleep in a position other than I was used to.
I also took note of how I woke up in the morning. No matter how you position your body when you lay down at night, you will likely wake up in a different spot. I quickly realized that my body naturally found the best sleep position during pregnancy on its own while I was asleep.
Sleeping during pregnancy is hard, especially during the final weeks when the fetus is taking up more room in your abdomen than your internal organs, but rest assured you will sleep; at least until baby is born.