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

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?

Tips for a future mother on organizing a comfortable, safe sleep

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.

Sleep dis­or­ders. SPb. / Alek­san­drovsky Yu.A., Wayne A.M. - 1995

Clin­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of sleep dis­or­ders in preg­nant women. Moscow / Vertkin A.L., Aly­mov G.V., Krivtso­va E.V. and etc. - 2004

Phys­i­ol­o­gy and patho­phys­i­ol­o­gy of human repro­duc­tion. / Teodor­es­cu-Exar­co I., Dumitru I. // Bucharest: Med Pub­lish­ing House - 1998


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