During pregnancy your body will have to cope with a series of changes. All of them have one thing in common. All of them have a negative effect on sleep. In general, you will experience heartburns, larger abdomen and shortness of breath. All of this may cause insomnia, or it can occur as an additional symptom. With clever guidelines, you can get much-needed sleep and rest. Sleeping for pregnant women is a science, but we will explain it as quickly as possible.
When should you stop sleeping on your stomach while pregnant?
Generally, you can sleep on your stomach while pregnant, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Your doctor should alert you that there are some concerns here and that after the5th month of pregnancy, it is almost impossible to sleep in this position.
The main issue occurs when you lie on your stomach is that it presses the veins and arteries. If we add additional pressure to the intestines we get a variety of complications. The first one will be tummy issues, which are difficult to solve. We can add bloating breasts and you should understand that this sleeping position isn’t a top choice.
We said that by 5th month, you should skip sleeping on your stomach, but it is an individual matter. Some women must stop sooner, while some can sleep up to 6th month of pregnancy. It actually depends on the size of a baby, how many babies you expect and your own weight.
Sleeping on stomach is still possible and actually recommended, but only if you cannot sleep in any other position. However, you will need a pillow with a shape of a donut in order to compensate the belly size. In addition, you may want to experiment with other pillows and layouts.
The bottom line here is that sleeping on stomach after the first trimester is almost impossible and it is unlikely you will be able to get some rest sleeping like this.
Can a pregnant woman lay on her back?
The situation is almost identical when it comes to sleeping on your back. In essence, your belly won’t press intestines as much as blood vessels. The biggest concern here is pressure on the aorta. Then we have pressure on several veins that bring blood back from the legs and arms to the heart.
The mixture of all the issue we have mentioned makes sleeping on back almost impossible. Just some of the symptoms you may experience are shortness of breath, heartburns, and higher heart rate. Sadly, additional issues may occur as well, which depend on other factors, like your own weight, mental condition and overall health. Important: The poor blood flow will affect you and your baby!
During the first 4 months, you will probably be able to get some sleep while sleeping on your back. During the 5th month, you will notice a decline in comfort and sleep quality. At the end of the 5th month, sleeping on your back isn’t an option anymore.
What Side is Best To Sleep on When Pregnant?
Can you lay on your right side while pregnant?
In short terms, yes, you can sleep on your right side. It is especially important to know that SOS (sleep on side) during pregnancy is generally the best way to get some sleep. It is beneficial in many ways and it is probably the only way you can sleep.
There are plenty of myths when it comes to sleeping on right side. It is definitely an option and if the side is the only way you can sleep, be free to use it. There won’t be any issues to you or to your baby. Additionally, you may want to know that sleeping on both sides is possible, but there are some differences (will be mentioned below). Another fact you may find useful is the ability to switch sides. It is also possible and safe during pregnancy.
In order to maximize the sleep quality, bent your knees while keeping a pillow between the legs. If you notice heartburns or any discomfort, lie on your other side. Additionally, you may want to use pillows to create additional support of your body while sleeping.
What about sleeping on the left side?
Although, both sides are safe to sleep on while pregnant, left side actually has a few advantages more. Sleeping on this side will increase a number of nutrients and blood to the body and to your baby as well. It is also defined as more comfortable side, but it cannot be generalized. Another advantage is lower pressure on your liver, which is more than just important.
In simple words, you can sleep on nay side you feel comfortable, during the first 20 weeks. After that, sleeping on side is recommended. It is possible to switch them and to adapt to this way of sleep. Just in case, if you already sleep on the left side, don’t change it.
How many hours of sleep do you need while pregnant?
How many hours of sleep during pregnancy you need is one of the oldest and the most important questions you may ask. There are a lot of facts to remember and facts to follow. Obviously, pregnant women require more sleep than usual, due to a simple reason.
During pregnancy, your heart will work up to 5 times faster than regular and your kidneys will have to make sure all the toxins are expelled from the body, yours and of your baby! In essence, your body will use far more energy than before, and if we know that our bodies replenish the energy while sleeping, you can get a better idea why and how much of sleep you actually need.
During sleep, your brain will have to repair possible damages and to increase a number of neurotransmitters. An interesting thing to know is that the brain is more than just active while we sleep. These repairs can be performed only during sleep and they are impossible to complete while awake.
Pregnant women will experience several changes in the sleep duration and quality during pregnancy. During the first trimester, due to a higher level of progesterone (hormone which improves the development of placenta), you will sleep more, but the quality of sleep won’t be very good. This is also the time when frequent urinating occurs.
In the second trimester, sleep will get better and you will be able to sleep more comfortably. This is the time when you need to adapt yourself for sleeping on the left side. During the third trimester, sleep once again becomes an issue. You may experience inability sleeping long and quality and frequent urinating will occur again.
The bottom line when it comes to the needed sleep duration for pregnant women is a bit difficult to generalize. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per day, but during pregnancy, you will need a few extra hours. We must add that naps during the day are a great way to get additional sleep. Addition: Your newborn baby will need between 14 and 17 hours of sleep per day during the first three months.
How to sleep better during pregnancy
Just because you are experiencing some issues while sleeping during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you have to live with them for 9 months. Careful tips and simple tricks are here to make your sleep better and to allow you to get proper rest through the entire pregnancy.
- Eliminate heartburns- Heartburns occur when stomach acid reaches esophagus, therefore the burning feeling. All you have to do is to elevate your head in order to prevent acid reaching the esophagus. Use books or more than a few pillows to do so.
- Eliminate shortness of breath- The solution is to place a pillow under your chest. By doing this, you will be able to breathe in more oxygen.
- Better comfort- To make your sleep better, you need additional comfort. It is possible to acquire one with the help of pillows, especially pregnancy pillows. By placing a pillow below your tummy and back you will prevent accidental rolling during sleep. Additional pillow between the legs can make sleep more comfortable furthermore. Addition: Pregnancy pillows are specifically developed for this purpose and they are more than just effective.
- Develop your own routine- While pregnant, you will need more time to fall asleep. A routine can help you with the process. Drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed or a cup of tea. Obviously, avoid caffeine.
- Eliminate stress- If you are under stress, you won’t be able to sleep, especially now. Try to eliminate it by visiting a therapist.
- Sleep during a day- Take a nap every time you feel you need one. A few per day can make a difference.
- Avoid watching TV, using tablets or smartphones 3 hours before going to bed- Blue light from the screens can keep you awake for a longer period of time. (Interesting Read: 10+ Things to Avoid During Pregnancy)
- Drink less fluid before going to bed- Obviously, during a day pregnant women need more fluid than usual, but before going to bed, don’t drink too much of it. You will have to go to the bathroom a few times!
- Improve comfort- Use pregnancy pillows to sleep better by improving the comfort. Also, try switching sides finding the one that suits you the most.
FAQ regarding sleep during pregnancy
If you have a few questions, chances are high they will be the list below. Many new mothers have them and many of them make a mistake, just because they are not aware of the risk.
Can I take sleep medicine?
No. The only way you should be free to take it is if your doctor says so. In any other way, sleep medicines must be avoided, even those on a natural base.
Can I use decongestant?
Again no. It will help you sleep well when you have a stuffy nose, but it works while congesting blood vessels, meaning that blood flow till be reduced to a baby.
I wake up tired. What to do?
Your body and mind must adapt to this special condition. In order to make it easier, try all sleeping positions and get support with additional pillows.
I am very tired but still awake.
A body needs 30 minutes to prepare for sleep. Read something or take a warm bath.
I go to a bathroom and cannot go back to sleep afterward.
This occurs because a baby will press your bladder, so you will have to go more frequently to the bathroom. Use night light, because exposure to ordinary light can make your brain think you are in a danger, so you won’t be able to go back to sleep.
Sex dreams during pregnancy explained
During pregnancy, your body will produce more estrogen than ever before. It will also increase blood flow to the genitals and secretion. Larger breast and more active hormones, in general, will cause sex dreams. It is perfectly normal.
Although this may affect your sleep, it doesn’t have a proper meaning. Dreams are not hidden messages, but distorted events from your life. Most of the dreams you will get are associated with ex-relationships, stress and etc. You are more aware of them during pregnancy just because you wake up in the morning more often. Other than that, they are nothing more than ordinary dreams.
The only solution you need to try is not to pay attention to them. Try to enjoy them rather than to be afraid. After all, they may be fun.
Sleep is one of three pillars essential for the health of you and your baby, so make sure you get plenty of it. With the combination of the tips, facts, and solutions from the content above, you will be able to create a sleep pattern that actually helps you. Maybe it will take some time, but it will be successful no less. After that, enjoy sleep and finally get the rest you deserve.