The reality, and irony, of pregnancy, is that you’ll probably never get worse sleep – yep even when that little babe arrives. Because sure, when the baby comes the sleep is broken and you’re up at all hours, but for the most part, when your head hits the pillow you are out cold and deep thanks to the sheer exhaustion. The cruel twist of fate in pregnancy is that when sleep is actually available to you – you just can’t do it. And sorry to say but it only gets worse as you get bigger.
Whilst you’re tossing and turning during those sleepless nights, there are some things you can – and should – do to make sure you’re sleeping safely with your little one on board.
If you were a side-sleeper pre-pregnancy then lucky you because this is the recommended sleeping position for mums-to-be (ideally the left side if you can manage it). As your pregnancy progresses and after around week 20 you should avoid sleeping on your back as the weight of your uterus can restrict blood flow to your baby and leave you feeling nauseous, dizzy, and short of breath.
Research suggests that sleeping on your side can help prevent stillbirth.
As well as side-sleeping there are other things you can do in bed to ensure you’re keeping your baby safe, using pillows to prop yourself up can help prevent heartburn as well as blocked nasal passages which can affect some women during the night. This can also help elevate you if you do find yourself rolling onto your back during the night.
Many women also find that having either a pregnancy pillow or simply a regular pillow to hug can help them feel more comfortable on their side (and prevent rolling too far on the stomach) and a pillow placed between the thighs can help ease pressure on the hips (especially in the third trimester). Pregnancy pillows come in an array of different shapes and sizes so it all comes down to personal preference.
If you are concerned about your sleeping position or have more questions, always speak with your doctor or midwife.