Sleeping in Pregnancy

Sleep is essential for healthy functioning of the mind and body. Sleep is even more important for a pregnant woman for healthy growth of the foetus but it is one thing that comes with difficulty. The first trimester is kicked with nausea and other problems like constant heartburn, constipation etc. As the pregnancy advances into second and third trimester and when the pregnancy hormone progesterone plays havoc in the body, all the extra fluids will have a pregnant lady scurrying to the bathroom frequently. Pregnant women also find it very difficult to catch a wink owing to heaviness of the belly.

Women who have a habit of sleeping on their backs will have to forego this habit when they are pregnant and learn to imbibe a more comfortable sleeping position that is healthy for the mother-to-be and the unborn baby. At this stage, a woman must experiment various sleeping positions to know which one suits her best.

Incidentally, according to doctors and health experts, the best way to sleep is on the sides, and preferably on the left side. Sleeping on the left side is comfortable for both – mother and baby. It puts minimal pressure on the mother’s internal organs and also ensures adequate supply of oxygen to the developing foetus. But sleeping throughout the night on one side continuously might become very difficult for the mother. So she is allowed to sleep on the right side as well, but she needs to ensure that she spends most of the time sleeping on her left side. If a woman is just not habituated with sleeping on one side and finds it exceedingly difficult, she should then switch sides frequently to avoid cramping and ensuring that she sleeps well on both the sides.

Healthcare professionals advise that the best way to sleep is to use some pillows as props. Place a pillow under the abdomen, under the breasts and between the legs for maximum comfort and support. Alternatively, a pregnant woman can also invest in a full body pregnancy pillow that will allow her to adjust the entire contour and receive full support in an effective way. These pillows are designed to reduce swelling of ankles and feet. While offering support, it also eliminates back pain and numbness of feet. Although these pillows occupy a lot of space on a bed, but it is worth it.

However there are certain sleeping positions a pregnant woman must totally avoid under any circumstances and that is sleeping on the back and stomach. Sleeping on the back induces too much pressure on the spine and a major artery on the back. Internal organs are squashed because of the bulky tummy. This sleep position also limits the blood supply and nutrients to the placenta. It is also known to cause serious headaches and numbness and swelling of feet. If a pregnant woman has to sleep on her back, she should make sure she rolls onto her side within few minutes. Sleeping on the stomach is not possible for obvious reasons. This sleep position will endanger the life of the foetus and moreover, a football-sized tummy would make it all the more difficult. Other than that, a pregnant woman need not fuss about her sleeping positions if these pointers are taken into consideration.

Once the baby arrives, new mothers may feel deprived of sleep. So all mothers-to-be should make most use of the time when she is pregnant by ensuring that she is getting enough sleep.

Girija Prasad (have 100 posts in total)

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