5 tips for sleeping well during pregnancy
Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant can be a difficult task, particularly as your bump gets bigger in the later stages.
women’s health physiotherapist and eumom prenatal physio expert, answers your most common pregnancy sleep related questions:
1. I’ve read that when you are pregnant, you should never lie on your back, is this true?
Lying on your back, particularly in the second and third trimesters may cause dizziness and shortness of breath in some women. This is because, in the supine (lying on your back) position, the vena cava (the vein that carries blood back to your heart), can be compressed by the weight of your growing uterus/baby. If you do like to lie on your back, there are ways to make it safer and more comfortable - see question 4 for tips on how to use pillows to support yourself in this position.
2. What side should I lie on in bed? I’m more comfortable on my right side but my friends are telling me that this is bad for my baby... I’m confused!
Lying on your left side is quoted in medical research as being the best position for circulation during pregnancy as it allows optimum blood flow for you and your baby. The reality is that you are probably not going to stay sleeping in one position for 9 months, so in my experience, most women tend to change from one side to the other during the night depending on what feels more comfortable.
3. Can I lie on my tummy?
Lying on your tummy will probably not be comfortable as your bump gets bigger, but sometimes a “half side/half tummy” position can be a nice compromise for those tummy sleepers out there.
4. Do you recommend pillows and supports?
There are lots of pregnancy pillows and supports on the market which promise to give you a great night’s slumber! During my pregnancy, I used that many pillows that my husband had about 10 inches of the king sized bed to lie on!
If you are lying on your side, try a pillow under your bump, a long pillow between your legs, from your groin to your feet (or if you don’t have a long pillow, you can use 2 normal pillows, one between your thighs and one between your lower legs). A pillow behind your back will also help to support you in that position.
If you want to lie on your back, try propping up your shoulders and upper back with pillows so that you are not lying flat, instead aim for “reclined on a sun-lounger” position! A pillow under your knees in this postion will also relieve pressure from your back. [READ ALSO: 10 pregnancy old wives’ tales: Fact or fiction?]
5. Turning over in bed hurts my pelvis, what should I do?
Try turning under, instead of over... confused?! Ok, let me explain: Instead of turning from your right side onto your back then onto your left side, try turning from your right side onto your hands and knees and then onto your right side. This takes a lot of pressure off the pelvis so leads to less pain! Another good tip is to squeeze your buttocks (clench your glutes) before you move - this works a treat for lots of my patients.
For more advice from Aoibhin McGreal, visit her website