Many, many pregnant women have insomnia issues during their pregnancy. Whether it’s the hormones, the aches and pains, not being able to breathe very well, heartburn, or nausea causing it, insomnia seems to be a pretty common complaint. But another reason pregnant women may not be able to fall asleep easily? They can’t sleep in their regular position. As you’re laying awake at night (so sorry) you may be wondering, "What is the best sleeping position during pregnancy?" Is there a particular way that works best — and allows you to sleep easier? Are there unsafe positions to sleep in?
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommended pregnant women go by the SOS method — sleep on side. And more specifically, on your left side, but why is that?
According to the APA, sleeping on the left side in particular will increase the amount of blood and nutrients going to your placenta and the baby.
Pregnancy pillows can make this even more comfortable. Even if you’re used to sleeping on your side, the added pressures of a baby bump may hurt your back, plus the support from the pillow holding up that bump will be a welcomed relief. But even without an official "pregnancy pillow," the APA suggested sleeping with your legs and knees bent, with some sort of pillow between your legs.
For those who are back sleepers, that might need to change for a while — nine to 10 months to be exact. Not only is it not particularly comfortable for you, as it causes backaches, trouble breathing, and hemorrhoids, but it "also causes low blood pressure and a decrease in circulation for your heart and your baby," the APA noted. "This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava)."
As for stomach sleepers, the farther along in your pregnancy, the bigger your bump will be, and the harder it will be to lay comfortably on your stomach.
While sleeping in any position at any point during your pregnancy, the APA suggested propping yourself up on pillows to help with heartburn and to help with any shortness of breath you may be feeling. Most women feel short of breath while they’re pregnant, because their growing uterus is putting pressure on their diaphragm during later pregnancy. Shortness of breath at the beginning of pregnancy is usually from the hormone progesterone affecting your lungs and "stimulating the respiratory center of your brain," according to Baby Center.
If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, it looks like you may be changing that when you’re pregnant — at least for nine or 10 months. But at least you know there’s an end in sight, right? Plus, making sure that sweet baby is getting all the nutrients and circulation they need, and is safe and snug (and you can breathe), is worth it. Try to take a deep breath, turn on the Enya, and snuggle up to that pregnancy pillow. Hopefully you’ll be catching some sweet Zs in no time.