Getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy is hard. You're hot and sweaty, uncomfortable, your hips are aching, and your heartburn gets worse when you lie down. You end up wedged in with a bunch of pillows holding you in place, only to realise you need to pee as soon as you've turned the light off. On rare occasions, when you're really tired and know you'll fall asleep soon as you hit the bed, the baby starts using your bladder as a trampoline from inside your womb. So, with all of that in mind, let's talk about the best and worst way to sleep during pregnancy.
1. Sleeping On Your Tummy During Pregnancy
It's fine to sleep on your tummy during the early stages of pregnancy and by the time it becomes unsafe for your baby, you will be too uncomfortable doing it anyway! It’s best to avoid sleeping on your tummy when you’re pregnant.
2. Sleeping On Your Back During Pregnancy
Your sleeping position isn't really an issue during the first trimester. However, once you're into the second trimester, you'll need to avoid sleeping on your back. Lying on your back makes your uterus put pressure on the vein that returns blood to your heart. If you continue to sleep in this position for long periods, this could restrict adequate blood flow and nutrient supply reaching your placenta and baby. It could also leave you feeling dizzy and nauseous.
3. Sleeping On Your Right-Hand Side During Pregnancy
Lying on your right-hand side is recommended over sleeping on your front or back during the later stages of pregnancy, but is still not as good as sleeping on your left. This is because lying on your right-hand side tends to put pressure on your liver, so most doctors would advise you to avoid this.
4. Sleeping On Your Left-Hand Side During Pregnancy
Doctors and practitioners recommend sleeping on your left-hand side. This position restricts the heavy uterus from putting pressure on your liver and the baby continues to receive sufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen through the placenta. In fact, not only does this position allow required blood flow, but it actually improves circulation, meaning your body won't have to work as hard to assure you have optimal blood flow for you and your baby. A study found that sleeping on the left-hand side on the last night of pregnancy halved the chances of stillbirth. Since no one can predict when their last night of pregnancy will be, it's best to sleep on your left-hand side during the later stages of pregnancy, just in case. However, there's nothing you can do to stop yourself from turning over in your sleep (although for many of you, the giant bump might help out with that!), so don't worry about it. As long as you spend most of your sleeping period on your left, you should be ok. So each time you wake up in the middle of the night on your right, turn back to your left with the help of your partner before you go back to sleep again.