By Effie Koustas, MPT
If you are pregnant and a stomach sleeper, like I am, sleeping on your stomach is a big no-no, for obvious reasons. Does this mean you will never sleep again? Oh no, you will, but you will have to find a new position of comfort. Between the recommended side sleep position, frequent waking to use the bathroom and crazy dreams, pregnancy can cause some disturbance to our sleep cycle. Continue reading below, and check out this article too, to find out what works and is best during pregnancy.
Not only is sleeping on your stomach a bad idea, so is sleeping on your back. Technically you can sleep on your back for the first 20 weeks. After your 5th month of pregnancy, you may experience vena cava compression syndrome. This is when the weight of the baby pushes down on the inferior vena cava and causes decreased cardiac output and blood pressure. However, most women can sleep comfortably, especially during the first trimester, due to fatigue and increase in progesterone.
Now which side is better? ”The right side can cause acid reflux, while the left has been linked to nightmares, according to Martha Cortes, DDS, a dentist specializing in sleep apnea. In pregnancy, however, left side sleeping is most preferred due to lack of compression and an increase in blood and nutrients to the placenta and baby. What happens if you start on your side and wake up on your back?! Don’t be alarmed as it is natural to move in our sleep. If you do happen to wake on your back, return to a side lying position. You will notice symptoms/discomfort well before baby does therefore no harm has been done.
It has been said that pregnancy can cause for “vivid dreams”. While not fully understood, there have been correlations to the joy, anxiety and fear of becoming a parent. Regardless, there is nothing to be worried about as it is normal. Another complaint could be leg cramps. This can be due to a lack of vitamins including sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium. Taking a prenatal vitamin could be enough to ward off those dreaded cramps.
Lastly, just because you are pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean you will not sleep well. Paying attention to staying hydrated during the day, eating well and exercising, will keep that growing baby happy and healthy just like mom. Keeping caffeine at a minimum and earlier in the day helps you fall and stay asleep easily. Eating throughout the day is another good way to keep your blood sugar in check. Meditating can be another form of stress relief that you may incorporate into your pregnancy to keep the anxiety and your sleep under control.