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Great Tips on How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

A number of women find themselves pondering how best to sleep when pregnant. Sleep interference is common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, when finding an ideal sleeping position can be challenging. Some pregnant women may also worry that certain body positions might affect their health or their unborn baby. 

An estimated 78% of women have more trouble sleeping when pregnant, with 15% experiencing restless leg syndrome during the third trimester. Many women experience fatigue during pregnancy, particularly in the first and third trimesters.  

Here are some tips to help pregnant women sleep better, including sleeping positions to try or avoid and sleep aids that are safe to use during pregnancy. 

BEST SLEEPING POSITIONS

Expecting Mum sleeping

During the first trimester, it is safe for you to sleep in whatever position you feel comfortable – on your back, side, or stomach. At this stage, the uterus is not large enough to disrupt sleep. However, hormonal changes, nausea, night time hunger and other pregnancy symptoms may have an impact.

In the second and third trimesters, it is recommended to sleep on your left side. Being in this position maximises blood circulation to the uterus without putting pressure on the liver. However, don’t be alarmed if you find that you sleep on your right side, as there are no known complications from this.

Women who experience hip or back pain during pregnancy may find that placing a pillow or cushion between the knees or bending the knees whilst sleeping can help provide relief. 

How to sleep when pregnant

Other sleep positions that may help resolve common issues include: 

  • Raising the upper body with a few pillows to reduce heartburn 
  • Raising legs with pillows to help with swelling and leg pain
  • Utilising a body pillow or pregnancy pillow to cradle the body and provide additional back support 

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As you’re probably starting to explore your options to lay your baby to sleep – sign up to the wait list for Upzeez High Rize Baby Cot. Our ergonomic baby cot is designed with you in mind because we care.

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Sleeping positions to avoid

Experts consider some sleeping positions to be less advisable than sleeping on the side: 

Sleeping on back

In the third trimester sleeping on the back puts pressure on the main blood vessels that supplies blood to the uterus. This pressure may decrease the oxygen supply to your baby. It can also increase unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness and heartburn

There are several studies that highlight ongoing back sleeping during pregnancy to an increased risk of stillbirth. Please seek further advice and guidance from your healthcare professional. For those who frequently awaken on their back, try using pillows to support your body and help you remain on your side. 

Sleeping on stomach

Many pregnant women worry that sleeping on their stomach will harm their developing baby. However, the uterus does a great job of protecting the baby, and there is no reason to avoid sleeping on the stomach during the first trimester. 

As pregnancy evolves, most women find that sleeping on the stomach becomes impossible or difficult. However, some women still prefer sleeping on their stomach or occasionally wake up on their front. There is no need to worry – sleeping on the stomach will not harm the baby

Some pregnant women may find that using several sleeping pregnancy pillows allows them to sleep comfortably on their stomach. It is fine to use these sleeping aids and it is perfectly safe to sleep in this way. 

Sleep aids

Pregnant woman - essential oils - how to sleep when pregnant

Here are a few different strategies to help pregnant women sleep better: 

  • Ask your doctor to test for vitamin deficiencies. Folic acid or iron can sometimes treat restless leg syndrome (RLS). Please ensure you consult with your healthcare professional before taking supplements to treat any condition.
  • Raise the torso and head to reduce heartburn. Some women find relief by sleeping in a semi-sitting position, such as laying on side in a reclining chair.
  • Try pregnancy pillows or cushions. Many different types of pillow are available for purchase online via Tropique Cushions Australia.
  • Use Essential Oils to help with Sleep. Many essential oils for sleep have calming benefits. Essential oils like Bergamot and Lavender are rich in linalool and linalyl acetate; both compounds are renowned for relaxing. These oils can be diffused aromatically in the bedroom to create a peaceful and pleasant environment before bed. They can also be taken internally to calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and lead to a restful sleep. 
  • Eat small portions through out the day. Particularly during the first trimester, some women wake up very hungry. Protein-rich foods can reduce the appetite, so eating foods such as meat or fish, peanut butter, and nuts before going to sleep may help a woman feel satiated. Eating smaller portions and less fatty meals can also reduce heartburn. 
  • Take an antacid. Over the counter (OTC) antacids are safe during pregnancy, but it is important to consult a doctor before taking any medication, including OTC drugs. 
  • Talk to your doctor about snoring. Severe snoring can make it difficult to breathe during pregnancy. 

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Considering your options for a safe and sound place to lay your baby to sleep? – Sign up to the Upzeez High Rize Baby Cot wait list. Our ergonomic baby cot is designed with you in mind because we care.

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Additional Resources 

Rednose – Sleep on your side when baby is inside
Baby Loves Sleep – Essential Sleep Oils
Tropique Cushions Australia
Medicine during Pregnancy

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