The 3 Important Sleep Strategies For Future Moms
As any woman who has given birth can attest, pregnancy has its own special joys offset by its own set of challenges. From the wonderful glow of impending motherhood to morning sickness, each new day of pregnancy is bound to be full of surprises. Sleeping can be an especially difficult area, starting with the first trimester’s sickness and extreme tiredness to later insomnia and (especially toward the very end of pregnancy) extreme discomfort when trying to sleep. Add to that possible heartburn, backache, need to urinate, leg cramps and more, and you’ve got a recipe for a poor night’s sleep, just when your body most needs its best night’s sleep ever. However, most women have successfully hurdled the sleeping challenge and discovered some helpful tips to pass along. What are the best sleeping positions you should follow during your pregnancy?
First, early on (first and even second trimesters) there seems to be no need to sleep in any way differently than you normally would, whether it’s on your stomach, back, side, with pillows, etc. As your baby (and belly!) grow, it’s best to adjust your sleeping position to the side in order to put less pressure on your vital organs and on your baby.
The first main sleeping position is sleeping on your stomach. Most moms find that with a growing belly, sleeping directly on the stomach does not tend to be a comfortable position at all. Also, it is less safe for the baby in general, and studies show that the risk of stillbirth increases with stomach sleeping.
Another option is sleeping on your back, and if that’s how you’re accustomed to sleeping, it may be difficult to change. However, with increased weight gain later in the pregnancy, the pressure of the abdomen on intestines and major blood vessels grows as well. In addition, back sleeping can cause increased problems with digestion, backaches, breathing, low blood pressure, and hemorrhoids, not to mention possible decrease in blood circulation.
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Sleeping in the face-down, knee-chest position utilizes the force of gravity to slightly shift the baby’s head out of the pelvic area. For this position to be successful, the woman’s thighs should be at right angles to the bed. Some moms have said that this position is the only one that allowed them any relief and rest during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
By far the best-recommended sleeping position for both mother and baby is S.O.S. or sleep on side. Expectant mothers should especially attempt to sleep on the left side, as it tends to increase the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the placenta and baby. However, studies have shown that adequate benefits exist for sleeping on the right side as well, although mothers are encouraged to sleep on their left side as much as possible.
Sometimes the expectant mom needs help in order to get comfortable sleeping on her side, particularly if it’s not her normal sleeping pattern. Specialty pillows can rescue her from this sleep crisis! A variety of pillows are on the market, all designed to encourage the best sleep possible. Research the available types to see what might work, but a few of the most popular include a pregnancy wedge, full-body pillow or maternity pillow. Some women simply prefer an extra pillow between their legs when side-sleeping.
Whatever the ultimate choice, it’s important for the expectant mother to get as much sleep as possible prior to the baby’s birth. As anyone knows, sleep can be in short supply once your precious baby makes his or her appearance!