The regular sleeping pattern of the woman changes after conception due to various changes taking place in her body. The first trimester demands more sleeping hours, as the body is tired due to the extra work it has to do to nourish and nurture the growing fetus in the womb, in addition to supplying enough blood for the placenta to form.
As the pregnancy progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to have a good night’s sleep because of the growing abdomen and changing shape of the body. Sleeping on the left side is recommended by doctors as it is considered to be the best position which is good for both – the would-be mother as well as the growing child in her womb.
Common Reasons for Disturbed Sleep
The crying baby waking up the mom is something everyone expects, but what a pregnant woman may not expect are those sleepless nights during pregnancy. A few weeks into pregnancy, sleep starts to elude due to common problems like:
- Frequent urination
- Morning sickness
- Increased heart beats
- Cramps in legs
- Weight gain on hips, buttocks, abdomen and breasts
- Growing uterus
- Back pain
A wrong sleeping position will only add to the woes of the pregnant woman.
Effects of Sleeping on Back
For women who are used to sleeping on their backs, it will be difficult to change the position during pregnancy, but it is very important to sleep on side to avoid unwanted complications. Sleeping on back is not safe during pregnancy after 16th week, since the position allows the uterus to bear down on the spine, back muscles and intestines which will lead to various problems like:
- Muscular pain
- Poor blood circulation
- Reduced oxygen supply to the baby
- Fluctuating blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Varicose veins
Benefits of sleeping on your side
Sleeping on the side is known as a SOS position during pregnancy, especially sleeping on the left side is recommended by doctors. When the pregnant woman sleeps on her left side, the weight of the uterus is taken off her spine; in addition, it increases the supply of blood and nutrients to the fetus.
Keeping a pillow in between the legs, while sleeping on the left side, is the best position that can be adopted throughout pregnancy.
If the abdomen needs support, try positioning a pillow to support it. Though sleeping on the left side is best, changing position is also necessary.
Some studies suggest that the sleeping position could be responsible for a still born child, though there is no substantial proof to back the report. Sleeping on the left side during the last term of the pregnancy is known to bring down the possibility of still birth. The medical explanation for the situation could be that, sleeping on the back or right side causes the compression of inferior vena cava in the mother, due to the pressure exerted by fetus. This reduces the oxygen supply to the baby thus resulting in still birth.
Apart from the benefits, pregnant women find it comfortable to sleep on their left side with pillows between their legs, especially in the third trimester.