It is common to think that sleepless days begin when the baby is born. However, insomnia and trouble sleeping occur even before you deliver. Many things cause sleep deprivation during pregnancy, such as hormone changes, poor sleep quality, and trouble finding a comfortable sleep position.
How can I sleep better during pregnancy?
Sleep troubles occur at any point in your pregnancy. However, lack of sleep is more common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This is because women later in pregnancy have a more challenging time getting comfortable, using the bathroom more frequently, and having pregnancy related dreams.
Main causes of sleeping related problems
The leading cause of sleep-related problems during pregnancy are hormonal changes. However, research has shown that lack of sleep can be attributed to other factors during pregnancy as well, such as:
- Leg cramps, also known as “Charlie horses.”
- Inability to find a comfortable position
- Hot flashes
- Baby movement in the belly
- Round ligament pain
- Morning sickness
Which sleeping positions should I avoid while pregnant?
We all have our favorite sleep position when we crawl into our cozy beds for the night. But, sometimes, life events interfere with our abilities to sleep in that position. So, if you are wondering if your favorite sleep position is safe during pregnancy, you are not alone.
Sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back during your third trimester may cause complications. Increased risks include stunted baby growth and increased blood pressure.
Sleeping on your stomach
There is little research or evidence that sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy is harmful, but it may get progressively more difficult as your belly grows. While the baby is cushioned in the uterine wall and surrounded by amniotic fluid, you may experience pain from sleeping on your stomach. Common pain includes shoulders, neck, and back pain. Specific pillows have been made for stomach sleepers to use during pregnancy to reduce the pain during sleeping but it is suggested that side sleeping is best. Some symptoms from sleeping on your back during pregnancy include:
- troubles getting a full breath of air
- Poor blood circulation
- Acid reflux
- Back pain
- Round ligament pain
- Decreased blood pressure
What are the best sleeping positions during pregnancy?
Sleeping on left side
Sleeping on your left side has been proven to have positive side effects for you and the baby. For example, Sleeping on the left side promotes blood flow to your heart and brain.
Sleeping on your right side
Research has been done over the decades to determine if sleeping on your right side is safe. Some research has indicated that it may restrict proper blood flow to your heart and brain. However, new research has shown that sleeping on your right or left side is better than stomach or back sleeping. In addition, research has shown that side sleeping on either side is equally safe and doesn’t increase your chances of a stillbirth.
Tips on how to sleep better during pregnancy
- Avoid spicy foods
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Limit screen time before bed
- Take a warm but not a hot bath
- Use a pregnancy pillow
- Eat Healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid long naps during the day
- Limit caffeine intake
- Get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
Can a pregnancy pillow help sleep better while pregnant?
Pregnancy pillows are designed with you and your baby in mind. Pregnancy pillows come in different sizes and shapes to tailor to your desired wants and needs for sleeping. Therefore, it is important to try a few different pillows until you find the style you like. There are three common types of pregnancy pillows:
U shape Pillow: This supports every part of your body from your head to your toes. It helps keep you lying on your side with the ability to put the pillow between your legs. The pillow between your legs helps keep your legs and hips parallel while providing proper back alignment. However, these have been known to be big and bulky taking up valuable sleep space.
Wedge pillows: Wedge pillows are a great option because they are versatile. They can be used under your belly, your back, or between your legs. The pillow also prevents you from switching to a new comfortable position. Wedge pillows are also great for travel as they are smaller and lightweight.
C shape Pillow: C shape pillows can support your belly or your back based on the placement of the pillow. The C shape pillow allows your legs and hips to remain parallel while keeping your back aligned. You must focus on your sleeping position later in pregnancy to reduce the risk of pain
The S.O.S Side Sleeper pregnancy: This pillow was designed by doctors to ensure you get the most comfortable and safe sleep possible. The pillow is fully adjustable to grow with you as your belly grows. The S.O.S. Pillow provides an ergonomically correct “no-rollover” foam to ensure you sleep on your side. Side sleeping in the third trimester is important because the risk of stillbirth is doubled if sleeping on your back. The pillow comes in a travel case so you can take your comfort with you everywhere you go. With this pillow being doctor-created and doctor-recommended, it is the best pregnancy pillow on the market.
Preparing for a new baby is exciting. However, it is essential to remember that the days of little sleep might happen before the baby is born. Fortunately, you can do many things to ensure you get the best sleep possible. Using a pregnancy pillow during pregnancy, especially in your second and third trimester is essential. Not only will it improve sleep, but using a pregnancy pillow reduces the risk of stillbirth in half. Get good sleep and go to bed at the same time every night. Create a good bedtime routine that you feel relaxed and ready for a snooze. Hold on tight because the best years are yet to come.