Sleeping is vital to everyone but especially with pregnant women, it becomes even more of an important topic. Considering the emotional and physical demands that are placed on a pregnant woman’s body, the increased amount of fatigue experienced is not hard to understand. Once you have passed the 20-week mark in pregnancy it is often recommended by your OBGYN that you discontinue sleeping in certain positions, which oftentimes leads to more discomfort and difficulty with getting a good night’s sleep.
Symptoms leading to Difficulty:
- Increased size of the abdomen
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Frequent nighttime urination
The recommended position is sleeping on your side. Preferably on one’s LEFT side, which will assist with heartburn but has also shown to increase the blood and nutrients to the placenta and baby.
Suggestions for comfortable side sleeping:
- Changing sides throughout the night to avoid hip pain and cramping
- Keeping knees bent
- Placing a pillow between your knees
- Placing a pillow underneath your abdomen
- If you are experiencing heartburn or shortness of breath- try propping yourself up on pillows
Positions to avoid while sleeping:
- Back sleeping: this can lead to increased lower back pain, hemorrhoids, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, difficulty with the digestive system and decreased circulation to the baby
- Stomach laying: most often times very difficult due to changes in the size of the abdomen but also lead to back pain
Avoid spicy foods for dinner, drinking water >2 hours prior to sleeping, try sleeping with a cool-mist humidifier next to the bed, use nasal strips at nighttime this will help with inflammation in the nasal cavity and assist with breathing more comfortably!
It is very important that pregnant women get enough sleep throughout their journey. Take naps, go to bed early, and take care of yourself. In the meantime, if you do experience any back, hip or any aches/pains Physical Therapy can help resolve those symptoms to assist you in getting more sleep!