Pregnancy is a special period in a woman’s life, filled on the one hand with joyful expectation and anticipation of a meeting, and on the other hand with all sorts of worries and fears. There are many myths and misconceptions about what can be done during this period and what is categorically contraindicated. To date, the question is gaining more and more popularity: is it possible to sleep at this time, lying on your back or on your stomach, when you need to change your position and how this affects the baby. We talk about the correct sleeping positions during pregnancy: what experts advise. Spoiler: get used to sleeping on your side!
The effect of sleeping position on the body of mother and baby
How to choose sleeping positions during pregnancy? How long can you lie on your back? Gynecologists are only allowed to sleep on your back until the 28th week of pregnancy. Doctors say that subsequent sleep in this position can adversely affect the health of the mother and her child.
This position completely transfers the weight of the uterus and its contents to the internal organs of the woman. In addition to inconvenience and discomfort, this is fraught with various negative consequences with the development of quite serious complications:
- at first it is manifested by pulling sensations and pain in the lumbar region;
- then there may be difficulty breathing and stagnation in the work of the gastrointestinal tract;
- compression of the inferior vena cava leads to impaired venous outflow, as a result of which serious malfunctions in the work of the heart and blood vessels and fetal hypoxia can occur.
Sleeping on your back during the third trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, according to data published by the British medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The main reasons for not sleeping on your back during pregnancy
Obstetricians and gynecologists really do not recommend late-term pregnant women to sleep or lie on their back for a long time. There are a number of reasons for this.
- Increased load on the spine.
During the bearing of a child, a woman’s spine experiences a tremendous load. Sleeping on your back does not remove it at night. The lower back is especially affected. Constant stress can lead to displacement of the intervertebral discs, the formation of protrusions and hernias.
- Congestion of urine and inflammation of the kidneys.
When the expectant mother is in a horizontal position, the child seriously compresses the ureters, retaining urine in them, as a result, inflammatory processes can begin to develop in the kidneys.
- Disturbances in the digestive system and increased symptoms of toxicosis.
While the pregnant woman is in a horizontal position, lying on her back, the fetus squeezes the stomach, part of the undigested food passes into the esophagus, which is why the expectant mother may suffer from severe heartburn, frequent belching, burning, bad breath and other uncomfortable sensations. Also, this posture is fraught with a slowdown in the digestive system.
Compression by the fetus of the intestines and internal organs leads to congestion in the gastrointestinal tract and problems with the stool. And decay products that are not removed in time cause severe gas formation and painful swelling. A compressed intestine also enhances the manifestations of toxicosis.
- development of hypoxia.
Compression of the inferior vena cava disrupts blood circulation and can lead to oxygen starvation of the fetus, which in turn is fraught with the development of congenital heart disease in the child, the appearance of disorders in the central nervous system and heart muscle.
- Complications in the work of the cardiovascular system.
If the inferior vena cava experiences serious pressure, then the normal blood circulation in the body of the woman in labor is disturbed. The heart muscle is under tremendous stress and strain. The expectant mother in this case suffers from a lack of oxygen, breathing difficulties, dizziness, arrhythmia, tachycardia.
- Increased swelling and cramps in the legs.
Stagnation of blood flow leads to the spread of numbness or swelling of the upper and lower extremities, the development of heaviness and cramps in the legs.
All the described consequences are not systematic, they do not appear in every woman in labor and refer only to a long stay in one position. It depends on the individual characteristics of the course of pregnancy, the location of the internal organs, and the activity of the fetus.
For a short period of lying on your back, neither the expectant mother nor the baby will feel any discomfort. But the longer the term, the more carefully you need to treat this position!
Tips for a future mother: how to sleep during pregnancy?
Sleep is necessary for the body to fully relax and restore quality. For expectant mothers, it is especially important to evenly distribute the load on the body and ensure uninterrupted blood circulation during the rest. To do this, you must follow certain rules. There are a number of rules for choosing a sleeping position during pregnancy.
- Sleep on the stomach will have to be excluded after 11 weeks of gestation, on the back — after 28 weeks.
- In the second and third trimester, for a long rest, it is better to choose sleeping positions during pregnancy on the left or right side (on the left it is more physiological). This will avoid excessive pressure on the spinal column, internal organs, venous system, bladder. In this position, unhindered blood circulation to the placental zone is normalized, which will provide the fetus with oxygen and nutrients in the required volumes. With a transverse presentation, you should sleep on the side where the baby has his head.
- During the rest, the upper part of the body (head, neck, shoulders) should be slightly raised.
- Change your body position periodically. This will benefit the body, relieve congestion, cramps and numbness of the limbs.
- It is advisable to use soft pillows, placing them under different parts of the body in order to ensure the most comfortable position for yourself. Special pillows for pregnant women make life much easier. They are produced in different shapes and sizes.
- It is worth listening carefully to the actions of the fetus. In an uncomfortable position, when the child does not have enough oxygen, he will actively signal his discomfort by pushing and turning over.
- The sleeping area must be well ventilated.
- If you experience any discomfort during sleep, you should immediately consult a doctor.
In the first trimester, due to the small size of the fetus, the expectant mother can sleep in any comfortable position. But after 12 weeks, in order to organize a comfortable rest and proper development of the child, it is advisable to adhere to the above rules.
Restful sleep is extremely important for the health of both mother and baby. Choosing the right posture will help improve the quality of a night’s rest, prevent the appearance of uncomfortable sensations, and protect against the development of complications.
It should be remembered that each pregnancy proceeds individually. It is important to listen to your own feelings, the movements of the baby and choose the most comfortable position for two.
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