Being pregnant can be one of the most wonderful times of your life, or it can be a total nightmare. Unfortunately, for many pregnant women, it is a waking nightmare, because they cannot sleep comfortably. If you are expecting a baby, you may benefit from sleeping tips for pregnant women considerably, making your pregnancy much more enjoyable and wonderful.
The Strain and Pressure of Pregnancy
Although all of your organs have a place in your body, they do get moved around – especially during pregnancy, when the size of the fetus and uterus is displacing organs. If you think only the organs in your lower abdomen are affected by pregnancy, think again. When you lay down, the fetus actually moves up, and this can put more pressure on the stomach, the lungs, the heart, and the liver, all of which are located above the uterus.
This is why it is important for pregnant women to avoid lying in a flat position, on their backs. It gets rather hard to breathe, and your heart may be having to work overtime as well to adjust for the pressure that is being placed on it.
Adjust as Your Body Changes
Unfortunately, one sleeping position is not going to cut it during pregnancy. The positioning that is comfortable in your first trimester isn’t going to work well in your second or third trimester. Once you readjust for the second trimester, you need to know that when the third trimester rolls around, you are going to have to readjust for a more comfortable position.
The fetus is constantly growing. This means that the sleeping position that is comfortable during the first six weeks of the pregnancy is probably not going to be comfortable between the sixth and twelfth week of the pregnancy. The position that is comfortable at 29 weeks will not be as comfortable as the same position at 32 weeks of pregnancy. You will constantly be changing your sleep position as the fetus grows and your body changes.
How Can I Get Some Rest?
First, all throughout your pregnancy, you should arrange pillows behind your head and upper back that prevent you from lying in a flat position. Obviously, as the fetus grows, sleeping on your stomach will not be possible – or even comfortable. For many women, sleeping on their backs, even if they are slightly elevated, will not be comfortable either.
As your belly continues to grow, you will find that the use of multiple pillows is needed. You need at least two behind you, and you will most likely be most comfortable sleeping on your side, with a pillow tucked between the bed and your belly. This will support the weight of your belly, but this isn’t enough. You need another pillow between your knees, to keep your spine straight, and to take pressure off of your hips and lower back. Many women also find that having an additional pillow to hold close against the breasts also brings more comfort. Experts recommend that you sleep on your left side, as this creates a biological situation where circulation is better.
Positioning isn’t everything. When you decide to sleep, this does not mean that the fetus is also going to sleep or be still so that you can rest. That isn’t going to happen. In fact, many fetuses become more active when the mother lies down. Sleep when you can. You may not be used to napping during the day, but while you are pregnant, this is almost a requirement for your health. Pregnancy is very hard on the body regardless of how well you may feel. You need as much rest as possible.
Make sure that you are getting plenty of liquids during the day to cut down on leg cramps, which are common during pregnancy. At the same time, make sure that you stop drinking liquids in the evening hours before bedtime to cut down on trips to the restroom in the middle of the night. Live and sleep on a schedule as much as possible.
Did you know that you are most likely to suffer from acid reflux or heartburn during pregnancy? Did you know that lying down after eating makes these problems much worse, and can keep you from sleeping? Avoid spicy foods, and avoid eating within a few hours of bedtime if possible.
Staying in bed when you are not sleeping is not beneficial. If you cannot sleep – regardless of the reason – get up out of bed and do something else. Just make sure that what you are doing is rather boring, and you may actually be able to ‘bore yourself to sleep.’ You do not want to do anything that takes much concentration or anything that causes excitement, such as watching a great horror movie on television. Instead, read a boring book.