Sleeping Positions For Different Gestational Periods

Sleeping peacefully and comfortably during pregnancy is just as important for the baby’s development and the mother’s health as physical activity and a good diet.

We are all well aware by now that for a comfortable and restful sleep a few rules need to be followed – fresh cool air in the room, a comfortable bed, a feeling of pleasant tiredness so that the body dreams of rest. All these are fairly simple rules and do not only work during pregnancy. However, there are some precautions while carrying the baby – not every habitual position is suitable for the mother-to-be.

Sleep positions in the first trimester of pregnancy The good news is that you don’t have to worry about body position until the 12th week. Are you used to sleeping on your stomach, turning over on your side or falling asleep on your back? You don’t have to deny yourself that. As long as the foetus is still very small and the uterus is located within the small pelvis, the position in which the mother sleeps has no effect. The only thing that can prevent sleeping on the belly is increased breast sensitivity. 

The exception is a multiple pregnancy, in which the uterus enlarges faster and sleeping on the stomach has to be abandoned earlier.

The second trimester is usually the most comfortable and restful period of pregnancy. However, the baby grows, the uterus increases in size, and sleeping on your stomach is not very comfortable. This is a reason to gradually give up this position and you have plenty of time to do so. However, there is no categorical prohibition against sleeping on your stomach, but nature itself tells you that it is time to change your habits.

Sleeping position in the third trimester of pregnancy

Many things change in the third trimester – swelling may be a concern, it becomes difficult to bend over, the closer to the due date, the harder it is to carry a rather heavy tummy. Sleeping on your stomach in the third trimester is out of the question – it is likely that you gave up this posture before the onset of the trimester. But now a new regulation comes into force – you should not sleep on your back and your right side in the third trimester: Sleeping on your back in the third trimester.

The fact is that this sleeping position in the third trimester of pregnancy is dangerous for the mother’s health. The uterus is already quite large and weighty, and in the supine position, especially for a long time, it puts pressure on the internal organs of the woman, on the spine, and most importantly, it pinches the inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower limbs to the heart. As a result of the disturbance of blood flow, hemorrhoids may worsen, blood pressure may fall, heart palpitations may increase, and limbs may become numb.

Thus, the optimal position for sleeping in the last term of pregnancy is considered to be on the left side. And to make it more comfortable for the expectant mother to sleep, there are many devices – from the usual blanket under the back, to pregnancy pillows of various shapes, made to suit the physiology and needs of pregnant women.

Lying on your back for long periods of time (more than 20-30 minutes) is not advisable in late pregnancy, but not while sleeping, but simply while resting or during certain tests (CTG, ultrasound, fetal monitoring). This is only because the inferior vena cava is compressed and the woman may experience unpleasant symptoms that immediately disappear when she changes position. So, don’t worry about how you sleep and lie down. If you get into an uncomfortable position, your body will immediately let you know that this position is not comfortable for it.

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Author: Susan Grundy

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