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What are my best sleeping positions now that I am pregnant?

I am a tummy-sleeper.  If I am having trouble sleeping or getting comfortable, rolling onto my stomach is my go-to comfort zone.  When I found out I was pregnant, I wondered how I would ever be comfortable again.  The answer for me was pillows, lots of pillows! You may be a side-sleeper or a busy, every-position sleeper, but most of us wonder at some point in pregnancy how this baby is going to affect our nights.

Early pregnancy sleeping tips

Early in pregnancy, common causes of nighttime discomfort are hip pain and sore breasts.32

Hip pain is related to the loosening of ligaments around the hips as they prepare your pelvis for delivering the baby.  This change in the pelvic girdle begins early in pregnancy and you’ve probably already noticed it.

  • The hips may make side-sleeping uncomfortable, and the sore breasts take tummy-sleeping off the list.  If this sounds like you, try pillows. You can try one of the special pillows made for pregnancy (just type pregnant and pillow in any search bar) or make a trip around your apartment looking for options that are already on hand – sofa pillows, seat cushions from a chair, children’s stuffed toys, a rolled towel in a pillow case….. I’m sure you will find several options.  Have them all lined up beside your bed and see which one works best.  You might want a nice sofa pillow for between your legs when side-sleeping, and that teddy bear might be just the thing to snuggle with to take some pressure off your breasts when tummy-sleeping.

Sore breasts are related to increased blood supply and changes in breast tissue as your body gets ready for breastfeeding.

  • Wearing a soft (no wires) bra or supportive camisole to bed may also be helpful.

Late pregnancy sleeping tips

Later in pregnancy, common causes of nighttime discomfort may include heartburn, back pain, and a large belly.31

  • For the large belly, you might need to take another trip around your apartment looking for pillows to prop under your belly and between your knees.
  • If heartburn is bothering you, place some of those same pillows under your head and shoulders to aid in digestion.  Having some antacids beside the bed to chew on at 2 am can also be helpful.  Discuss antacid options with your OB provider.

If you have some friends and relatives telling you not to sleep on your side, or not to sleep on your belly, or not to sleep on your back (yikes, how am I supposed to sleep?) they have good reason to say so, but aren’t telling the whole story.

Early in pregnancy when baby is small, it is well protected by the muscular wall of the uterus29, the amniotic fluid (it’s like a personal, private hot tub!), and the pubic bone.  Laying on your stomach may make you feel like you are squishing baby, but it’s not possible.33

Later in pregnancy, laying flat on your back may cause a decrease in returning blood flow to your heart as a larger baby may put pressure on your blood vessels.  This would lead to feeling light headed or unwell.  Simply grab some of those pillows and prop up your upper body, or roll onto your side.  The folks at Web MD remind us that when sleeping  “left is best”30  – but don’t panic if you roll over in your sleep.  Read the whole article here.

Community Pregnancy Center offers free prenatal classes that cover topics just like this!  To sign up for prenatal or parenting classes give us a call.  The lessons are sent to you via text or when permitted, we have group classes at our center. Our classes are part of our Life Lessons program and you will receive “Baby Bucks” to spend in our Mini Depot on car seats, diapers and more.

For more information, make an appointment, check our website or give us a call at 907-337-9292