SOS and pillows: Tricks to sleep better during pregnancy

Published on: 26 February 2022, 19:13 pm IST

The bump can be hard to manage as you progress in your motherhood journey. What is then a good position for sleeping during pregnancy?

Neetha HA
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sleep during pregnancy
Choose the most comfortable position. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Sleep is the time when the body resets and repairs itself. Finding a comfortable position can be challenging with the growing bump, and not every position works while sleeping during pregnancy.

Many women have trouble sleeping during pregnancy. This may be because of the many changes their bodies are going through. Levels of estrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy, which can change sleep patterns.

Weight gain also can make the airway swell, leading to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Comfortable positions for sleeping during pregnancy:

The best sleeping position during pregnancy is SOS – sleep on side, because it provides the best circulation for you and your baby. It also places the least pressure on the veins and internal organs.

Good circulation helps reduce potential swelling, varicose veins in the legs and hemorrhoids.

First trimester
Sleeping in any position is generally fine early on. Using a pillow between the legs helps ease discomfort in the hips and lower body.

Second trimester
As the belly grows, you will want to make sure your mattress firm so the back doesn’t sag. You may also want to look into pregnancy pillows. They come in U or C shapes and wrap around the entire body to help with side sleeping.

You position the pillow so that it runs along your back and then hug the front while simultaneously slipping it between the knees.

Third trimester
Using a pregnancy pillow gives support. You can stick them under your belly and behind your back to keep from rolling. If you can’t get used to sleeping on your side, try using pillows to support the back. This way, you’re not flat on your back.

sleeping during pregnancy
Maintain the right sleeping posture during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Sleeping on your left or right side during pregnancy

During the second and the third trimesters, sleeping on either side – preferably the left, if possible, is considered to be ideal for you and your baby-to-be. This position allows for maximum blood flow and nutrients to the placenta (which means less pressure on the vena cava).

This large vein runs parallel to the spine on the right side and carries blood to the heart and, in turn, to the baby.

It enhances kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in the feet, ankles and hands.

Also Read: 5 yoga stretches to help mommies-to-be get rid of severe backache

pillow during pregnancy
Pillows can be your best friends during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips for better positions while sleeping during pregnancy:

* Using lots of pillows:
Try crossing one leg over the other and putting one pillow between them and another pillow to support the back.

* Get a special pillow:
For extra support, try using a wedge-shaped pillow or a pregnancy pillow.

Also Read: I stopped using a pillow to sleep. This is what followed

* Sleeping positions to avoid:

Stomach sleeping: Stomach sleeping should be avoided in the second and third trimester. At that point, your bump may be growing a bit bigger, making this position less and less desirable.

Back sleeping: Sleeping on your back is generally considered safe throughout the first trimester.

As the belly grows, sleeping on the back may not be good. It puts the weight of the uterus on the spine and back muscles. In the second and third trimesters, lying on the back may compress a major blood vessel that takes blood to the uterus, making you feel dizzy and possibly reducing blood flow to your fetus.

Neetha HA Neetha HA

Neetha HA Executive physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru

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