Advice For Parents

What’s the Best Sleeping Position for Pregnancy?

July 13, 2018   By Jennifer Cook

Don’t you just love the idea of sleeping through the pains of pregnancy? Unfortunately, getting sleep may not even be an option for some mommies-to-be.

It’s a huge adjustment – but think of it as a preparation for motherhood. Pregnancy is full of changes – hormonal, emotional, mental, and physical.

The pains and discomforts differ from one trimester to another, so the best sleeping position changes a bit as needed. But sticking to a healthy sleeping position becomes more pronounced in the latter months.

First Trimester

In the first trimester, progesterone levels increase exponentially. This keeps the uterus muscles relaxed to avoid premature contractions and helps the body nurture the mommy-to-be and the foetus. Progesterone helps with the functioning of the placenta by protecting it from any unwanted cell growth.

Having high levels of progesterone has a downside. It makes you feel all sorts of discomfort: nausea, fatigue, morning sickness, or even anxiety. Some females notice this immediately, while others breeze through the first trimester without feeling any symptoms at all.

Best sleeping position: On your left-hand side with knees bent. This position is ideal for your baby’s nourishment because it eases pressure on the liver – allowing oxygen and nutrients to travel via the placenta. The blood flow to the uterus and foetus improves accordingly.

While it’s good to train yourself this early, tossing and turning can be inevitable for some women. If you still wake up in your usual stomach or back sleeping position, don’t fret! The only issue here is the discomfort (if any) – like when your breasts or lower back are sore.

Naturally, as the pregnancy goes on, you’ll find sleeping on your side will be the most comfortable or physically-possible position.

Second Trimester

The second trimester is commonly known as the honeymoon stage of pregnancy. The hormones (and emotions) start to subside! This is also when you feel small movements of your baby – signs that your baby is alive and kickin’ (literally).

Best sleeping position: On your left-hand side with knees bent, still. Since the baby is growing and showing, you’ll need all the necessary nutrients to travel to the placenta for a healthy delivery.

A 2011 Auckland Study found it best to avoid sleeping on your back during this trimester going forward. They say you risk compressing the inferior vena cava, reducing blood supply to you and your baby. According to the study, “women who did not settle to sleep on their left were more likely to experience a late stillbirth compared with women who did.”

An association was also made between the back-sleeping position and low birth weight in babies – as found in a study of maternal sleep practices in Ghanaian women.

Wait… Is It Unsafe to Sleep on My Back or Right-Hand Side during Pregnancy?

Don’t worry! The studies mentioned merely suggest avoiding back-sleeping when pregnant. They need more substantial research to conclude that the back-sleeping position harms your baby’s health. 

Many mothers out there claim to have slept better on their back or right side and have given birth to healthy babies!

If you – with all your might – attempt to sleep on your left side but wake up on your back, there’s no need to stress! Sleeping on your side is recommended but not the end-all-be-all of sleeping positions.

Your body will send signals to change your sleeping position when your current one gives you discomfort. Pay attention to the signs: nausea, difficulty breathing, back pain, etc.  

For any discomfort that seems overbearing, contact your doctor straight away. Ask them what positions, exercises, and massages they could recommend for a better night’s sleep.

Third Trimester

Towards the end of your second trimester and the entirety of your third trimester, your growing belly may start to feel very uncomfortable. It may be helpful to prop a pillow under your abdomen or between your legs. You can try experimenting with your pillows to see which gives you the most comfortable sleep. Then again, asking your doctor is your best option regarding matters like this.

In a nutshell, the third trimester sees a lot of foetal movement, pain, frequent urination, snoring, decreased sleep quality, and general discomfort. If you can’t afford a new mattress, you can invest in an extra layer of protection and comfort. Meet the mattress topper!

A good memory foam mattress topper provides a hypoallergenic and removable cushioning layer for pressure point relief. The best mattress topper is removable, washable, and allows for maximum airflow and breathability to keep you AND your future little bub comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Something that looks like this.

Best sleeping position: Sleeping on your left side (S.O.S.) is still the best position ESPECIALLY for the third trimester. This is ideal for your baby, kidneys, and helpful if you experience shortness of breath or hip pain. By this time, it will be difficult to sleep on your stomach and back, anyway. Hooray for side sleepers!

Some Tips for a Restful Sleep

  • If your baby kicks around at night, gently massage your tummy area. Savour this moment to help ease the pain!
  • Do some relaxation techniques. Simple yoga and meditation can significantly help if you are nervous or anxious about giving birth. It enables you to take your mind off things for a little while.
  • Don’t eat large meals before bedtime. Have you heard of the three-hour rule? That’s still applicable even in pregnancy! Just remember to get enough nutrients in the day.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of fluid before sleeping. This is the best you can do to avoid frequent urination.
  • Sleep on a medium-firm mattress with a cool surface. Because you have a heavier belly and hip area, this body part will naturally sink on any bed. Fortunately, sleeping on a medium-firm mattress is a safe choice. You and your baby get the comfort and support you need whilst sleeping! Should you want to change your current mattress give the adjustable Ecosa mattress a look! It provides pressure relief which makes it a good choice for pregnant women, thanks to the extra support and spinal alignment.
  • Take naps in the day to make up for lost sleep. Grab any nap-portunity while you can!

When the time comes that you really can’t sleep anymore, do something you love! Watch a funny show, read a book, write your thoughts down, sketch your baby’s room – anything, everything. Eventually, you’ll feel tired and sleepy. Once the baby arrives, who knows when you’ll be able to enjoy these things next?

We know this period can be really trying, and getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. You need to worry about changing body temperature, getting enough nutrients and keeping your little one healthy and finally, a safe delivery.

Motherhood is hard enough as it is. If your existing mattress lacks the comfort you need, a good topper can be the perfect solution. Luckily for you, the Ecosa Mattress protector has that mattress feel without sacrificing temperature regulation. This means excellent sleep whether you’re side sleeping or on your back, or a cool or hot sleeper—no sweating or overheating on our eco-friendly protector.

Worried about durability for such an investment? The Ecosa Mattress Protector comes with a 1-year warranty since we know you’re preoccupied with your little bub. You got this!

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