(Feb – March 2013 Vol. 33) Compromising Positions
When you are pregnant your body goes through a variety of changes that can wreak havoc on the female body. These changes tend to disrupt your usual peaceful slumber. Reasons of this disruption may include size of abdomen, back pain, heartburn, and shortness of breath.
Making few simple changes to how you position your baby in bed during pregnancy can relieve pain, improve sleep and improve circulation to baby.
Positions to avoid are sleep on your stomach. When you are father along in your pregnancy the growth of your abdomen makes in more difficult to sleep on your stomach. This position becomes uncomfortable usually after your month if not sooner.
Sleep on your back should be avoided too. When you are sleeping on your back the weight of your uterus lies on the spine, back muscles, intestines and major blood vessels (aorta and vena cava).
This can lead to muscle aches and pains, hemorrhoids and impaired circulation, which is uncomfortable got you and your baby. It can also cause blood pressure to drop bringing on dizziness.
Finally, back sleeping can cause snoring and with increased weight could lead to sleep apnea.
The best sleeping position for pregnancy is “SOS” which stands for sleep on side. Even better is to sleep on your left side. This is due to the anatomy of the abdomen, which has to expand continually as the baby grows. The Vena Cava is the main vein that drains the entire lower half of the body. Anatomically, it lies just to the right of the middle to the right of your spine.
As the baby gets bigger, the heavier uterus, lying flat on the Vena Cava will obstruct flow towards the heart, like stepping on water hose. The drainage of the lower half of the body becomes sluggish increasing swelling at the ankles, feet and legs. It can also have an impact on hemorrhoids. Decreased return blood flow to the heart will cause hypotension (lowered blood pressure) down the line resulting in diminished arterial blood flow to the uterus, placenta and baby.
Sleeping on your side may be difficult at first forthose who are used to sleeping on the tummy and back. However, a carefully placed pillow can improve sleep and reduce strain. Placing a pillow under your belly and behind your back is ideal. Keep your legs and knees bent and a pillow between your legs.
If you find you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position and try placing a pillow under your abdomen.
For heartburn during the night you may want to try propping your body upper body with pillows. You can try a wedge shaped pillow for support. Another option is a full-length body pillow. These suggestions may not sound comfortable but try them out. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night and rotating positions is fine.
Livewell Baby, February – March 2013 Vol 33