You just found out you're expecting your new baby. Congratulations from all of Polysleep! You have already decided on a first name: Riley, since you don't know yet if it's a little boy or a little girl. With this excellent news, you are asking yourself THE question that every woman during her pregnancy has to ask herself: how to sleep when you are pregnant?
And you're right: pregnancy changes a lot of things, starting with your sleep! But don't worry, you're in the right place to know what's the best position to sleep when you're pregnant! Your sleep specialist will tell you everything you need to know to sleep well while waiting for Riley to arrive. Don't wait any longer to read on!
First trimester: The most challenging. Fortunately, the sleeping position is secondary!
Many changes are in sight during the first 3 months!
Unfortunately, the first trimester (up to 14 weeks) is the most difficult period for sleeping, especially because of hormonal changes. Indeed, the increase in progesterone production during this phase may be responsible for the drowsiness experienced during the day, and may interrupt your sleep at night. Estrogen disrupts sleep cycles as well. You may also feel like going to the bathroom several times a night, with Riley pressing more on your bladder as he or she grows inside your belly.
During the first three months of pregnancy, most pregnant women are prone to hypersomnia (excessive sleeping time) because of hormones that act like real sleeping pills. However, others are affected by insomnia, as if they were "switched on" by these hormones.
Our advice: get as much rest as possible!
Take advantage of the fact that your belly has not yet rounded to sleep as comfortably as possible in the position you want. There is no problem with sleeping pregnant on your stomach, back or on your side during the first trimester: your baby is well protected in its amniotic fluid.
Allow yourself long nights if you can, to recover. Feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day because you're nodding off? Don't resist and treat yourself to a short nap whenever you can. Also take time to relax, for example by doing relaxation exercises or preparing relaxing drinks such as a good chamomile tea. All of this will help you calm the anxieties inherent in the first three months of pregnancy, such as the fear of miscarriage.
The second trimester: the best time of pregnancy in terms of sleep!
The famous “honeymoon” of pregnancy!
After the turmoil of the first three months, you’ll have a nice lull. After all, this is the best time of the pregnancy. Your belly gets rounder, nausea and hypersomnia stop, and your hormone levels drop.
Also, you've just passed the period when the likelihood of miscarriage is highest, and you’re not yet experiencing the stress of childbirth. It's a great time to be pregnant! This makes your nights more serene and restful, especially since you can still sleep in the position you want without disturbing your sleep. Enjoy it!
However, some inconveniences can still arise, such as heartburn. Heartburn is related to the fact that the uterus is expanding and pressing on the stomach as well as your intestines. Also, because REM sleep is more frequent, you may have more weird dreams and nightmares.
Our advice: Keep up the good work and watch what you eat!
So, when asked “Which side should I sleep on when I'm pregnant?” the answer is always: “It's up to you!” However, we recommend that you slowly prepare for your last trimester by starting to get used to sleeping on your left side. We’ll come back to the reason behind this below. At the same time, continue to reinforce the habits you have acquired, especially in terms of relaxation techniques. Indeed, the effects of these techniques are reinforced with regular practice!
The real change you can include, however, is in your diet, to counteract potential heartburn. Eat smaller portions, but eat more frequently and more slowly. Drink between meals, and avoid drinking liquids as a snack before bedtime. Also avoid anything fatty or fried, caloric and overly spicy, onions and garlic, anything citrus-based, tomatoes, stimulants (coffee, tea and chocolate), and anything fizzy!
Third trimester: not easy but be brave, it's almost over!
Difficulties are returning, but not for long!
After the lull in the second trimester of pregnancy, a few difficulties have surfaced! But don't panic, it's easily manageable! From the 29th week to the birth of little Riley, several inconveniences are to be expected, starting with back and muscle pain. Gastric reflux and heartburn may also continue to be present, while at the same time, your ligaments and joints become more flexible because of the hormones for childbirth.
But the biggest change is in your sleeping position. You’ll necessarily find it harder to sleep in the position you want. Sleeping on your stomach while you are pregnant at this stage is bound to be uncomfortable.
Sleeping on your back while pregnant is one solution. However, according to the MiNESS study conducted by Dr. Heazell and his colleagues at the St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester, England, it's best to avoid this position. It seems to contribute to the phenomenon of fetal death. Although no explanation has been demonstrated, it seems that the weight of the baby in the womb, plus the weight of the uterus, puts pressure on the blood vessels. Eventually, blood flow and oxygenation would appear to be compromised, which would be harmful to the unborn baby in the last trimester.
Our advice: don’t sweat it, there are solutions!
The last trimester is going to be more rock ‘n’ roll. However, don't forget that the first trimester is the most difficult. You’ll get through it with these tips!
Above all, choose a sleeping position on the left side. Indeed, this position frees the vena cava, thus allowing a better blood flow to the placenta, and so a better oxygenation. You’ll be a winner in every respect: Baby will sleep well, and you’ll breathe optimally!
The ideal is to get used to sleeping sideways gradually during the second trimester, so that the transition to the third trimester is less restrictive in terms of sleeping! Also, some adjustable pillows for pregnant women, the function of which is to relieve pain and discomfort during the night, are available on the market to help you get through this last not-so-fun stage!
In short, adapt your sleeping position as soon as possible for the last trimester!
So you are now fully informed about how to sleep during your pregnancy! During the first six months, you'll have a lot of leeway with your sleeping position. However, it's best to prepare as early as possible for the last trimester by positioning yourself on your left side as early as the second trimester. This will limit potential complications for little Riley, while preserving your essential rest. You’ll indeed need all your energy once your little one arrives!
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