Pregnancy is not only a time of joyful expectation but a time of doubts and worries. Especially when it’s your first pregnancy. The expectant mother is worried about everything to the smallest detail: is it possible to cut and dye her hair, and in what position is it better to sleep? Nothing is surprising in this because she wants to protect the baby from everything that can create discomfort or harm.
Sleep is important and necessary. All organs work in an enhanced mode during pregnancy and this is an additional burden on the body. Good sleep is a source of energy. It relieves stress and helps to relax and rejuvenate. To have a good rest, it is important to choose the right sleeping position. Some positions are uncomfortable for the mother and some are even dangerous for the baby.
Healthy sleep: why is it important for pregnant women?
The woman’s body requires more energy due to hormonal changes, weight gain, and fetal growth. Good sleep helps to compensate for it, gives cheerfulness, and is the key to a good mood. Muscles relax during sleep and blood pressure decreases. Lack of sleep can cause a depressed mood and even exacerbate depression.
The duration of sleep in pregnant women is different. It may depend on the changes occurring in the body and the duration of pregnancy. Experts advise the expectant mother to sleep at least 8 hours. A daytime sleep of at least one hour is useful.
A good rest is needed not only for the mother but also for the baby. The formation of important organs and systems of the body occurs during sleep, including the development of brain neurons.
Sleeping on your stomach in the first months of pregnancy: good or bad?
Sleeping on your stomach does not harm either mother or baby in the first trimester. The size of the abdomen practically does not change, the uterus does not put pressure on the internal organs, and the fetus is reliably protected by a special fetal bladder. You can safely sleep on your stomach in the first months of pregnancy if you feel normal and the pregnancy proceeds without complications.
The position of the mother’s body affects the condition of the baby from 12 weeks. Sleeping on your stomach causes discomfort and inconvenience. Sleeping in this position can cause uterine hypertonicity. Pressure on the belly of a pregnant woman after 12 weeks is dangerous. It can lead to squeezing of the vessels of the placenta in some cases.
It is not worth neglecting the advice of doctors and sleeping in a familiar position in the second trimester. Careless movements can cause bleeding and threaten miscarriage.
In what position to sleep after 12 weeks of pregnancy?
It is better to sleep on the left side in the second and third trimester according to the recommendations of doctors. You can use a pillow under the stomach and right leg for comfort. This posture has several benefits.
It reduces pressure on the liver and improves blood flow since the heart is on the left. Blood freely enters the placenta, and supplies all the necessary substances for the growth and development of the baby. This posture reduces swelling of the arms and legs.
Do not worry if during sleep the pregnant woman rolls over on her back. You can sleep on your right side until the 29th week of pregnancy. The baby can compress the mother’s liver and kidneys in late pregnancy. This can lead to organ slowdown and even stagnation of urine. Sleeping on the right side is recommended for changing positions at the end of the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Features of choosing a sleeping position
You should consider your preferences, comfort, health status, and gestational age when choosing a comfortable sleeping position. Discomfort during a night’s rest hurts the well-being of the mother and her mood.
You can sleep on your stomach only in the first trimester. The same applies to sleeping on your back. It is better to refuse this pose after 15 weeks. Sleeping on your back can cause difficulty in breathing, exacerbation of hemorrhoids, impaired blood circulation, and a decrease in pressure.
A gynecologist may recommend that you refuse to sleep on your back from the beginning of pregnancy if the pregnancy proceeds with complications or if there are serious chronic diseases.
Practical advice on how to improve sleep
Physiological changes in the body, discomfort, anxiety, and excitement for the baby – all lead to sleep disturbances in pregnant women. It is difficult for a woman to fall asleep even if she is very tired, she can often wake up at night.
Pregnant women are not recommended to take sedatives. They can harm the formation of the nervous system of the fetus. It is better to consult with a gynecologist. The quality of the expectant mother’s sleep depends on her surroundings, their understanding, care, and support. Improving sleep will help following simple recommendations.
The right mattress
A well-chosen mattress is a key to good sleep and energy for the whole day. It supports the spine in the correct position and helps to avoid discomfort. The best option is an orthopedic mattress that easily adapts to the individual characteristics of the user. They can distribute the load and provide a comfortable rest.
It is better to give preference to a mattress of medium hardness. A soft one will not support the spine and a hard one will cause tension or discomfort.
Avoidance of stressful situations
Stress and anxiety negatively affect the quality of sleep. Anger and irritability can increase the levels of certain hormones and this affects the baby. Adrenaline released into the blood during strong emotional experiences constricts blood vessels and the child receives much less oxygen and nutrients.
Strong stress and emotional experiences cause various sleep disorders. The baby can be irritable and moody if the mother suffers from insomnia. The expectant mother should avoid stressful situations and think positively. It is better to discuss fears and anxieties with loved ones, a doctor, or a psychologist.
Light dinner before bed
A heavy meal before bed creates additional stress on the gastrointestinal tract. Sleep worsens due to a feeling of heaviness. It is better to prefer light diet food before going to bed – sour-milk products, baked meat, fish, and vegetable or fruit salads.
Do not eat sweets, bread, or flour products before going to bed. This causes an increase in blood sugar levels. The body responds by producing large amounts of insulin. I want to eat again after a short period. Do not eat too salty food. Excess salt retains fluid in the body and contributes to the appearance of edema.
Walk in the fresh air
Hiking in the fresh air contributes to sound sleep. Fresh air activates blood circulation and saturates tissues with oxygen. Walking in the fresh air will help get rid of digestive problems in combination with a balanced diet. Hiking gives a good mood and is the key to the excellent well-being of the mother.
Comfort in the room
The room should be well-ventilated for sound sleep. The temperature must not exceed 20C. The humidity level must be at least 50%. The room should be ventilated 2-3 times a day, regardless of the weather. You can leave an open window all night in the summer.
Pregnant women may experience drowsiness, malaise, and fatigue with a lack of oxygen. There may be attacks of suffocation and a feeling of shortness of breath. Dry air contributes to dehydration, especially during the heating season. Properly selected lighting in the bedroom plays an important role.
Calming tea before bed
Herbal teas help calm and relax before bed. It is worth being careful because not all herbs are recommended for pregnant women. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine and are rich in vitamins and trace elements. It is better to give preference to mint, lemon balm, and chamomile. It is worth consulting with your doctor before use.
Should you buy a pregnancy pillow?
A special pillow allows you to reduce the load on the body of the expectant mother. The belly is rounded in the third trimester and this creates inconvenience during sleep. Pillow for pregnant women is universal and helps to choose a comfortable position for sleeping, relaxing, reading, or watching TV. The pregnancy pillow can also be used after the birth of the baby, for example for feeding.
Pillows for pregnant women are very similar, but it is important to choose the one that is right for you. This pillow can be placed under the stomach to relieve discomfort and relax. Achieving this is quite difficult using ordinary pillows.