Safe sleeping positions for pregnant mums
Is your growing baby bump causing you to toss and turn in bed each night as you try to find a comfortable position? Here are some recommended sleeping positions which are safe for pregnant mums, as well as certain positions you should avoid
At the back of the mind you always have one question, “Are these sleeping positions safe for me?” And if you ask most experienced parents what their top tips are for new parents expecting their first baby, they would probably tell you to “get as much sleep as you can!”.
Little did you know that all those sleepless nights would actually start when your little one hasn’t even arrived yet, because as your lovely baby bump grows with each passing week, you might have difficulty trying to find comfortable sleeping positions at bed time.
But did you know that there are actually some recommended positions which are safe for expecting mums as well as certain positions you should avoid?
Why is it so difficult to get comfortable?
After tossing and turning in bed trying to find a comfortable position so you can finally drift off to sleep, you might wonder why something that used to be so easy has become such a struggle now.
The reasons for your discomfort could be due to various reasons such as:
As your pregnancy progresses, your bub will grow from the size of a tiny sesame seed to that of a watermelon! So it’s no wonder that you’ll be feeling some discomfort while trying to catch some zzz’s.
This is a normal problem a lot of pregnant mums will face and can range from mild aches to more severe cases and may occur at any point during your pregnancy.
All your pregnancy hormones are causing your muscles to relax, including the ones in your stomach and digestive tract, so you might have digestive acid going into your oesophagus which causes heartburn and reflux.
The bigger your baby grows, the more space she will be taking up inside you, which affects your lungs’ ability to fully expand with each breath you take.
After all the restless nights, you are probably crying out for help to find a comfortable sleeping position!
But S.O.S actually stands for Sleep On Side, which is the safest position recommended for pregnant women, as it provides comfort and relief from the weight of your growing baby bump.
Although it is safe to sleep on either side, it is best if you sleep on your left side as this will help to increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta, uterus and your little bub.
Dr Ong Thun How, the Director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and Dr Chua Ai Ping, a consultant from the division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at National University Hospital also agree that it is better for pregnant women to sleep on their left sides.
Sleeping positions to avoid
If you sleep on your back, you might find it harder to breathe because your pregnant belly will be pushing down on your intestines and this position may also lead to tummy troubles!
Dr Ong and Dr Chua also advise pregnant women (especially those entering their sixth month of pregnancy) against sleeping on their backs because your heavy uterus could press down on major blood vessels and affect proper blood circulation.
If you lie face down on your stomach, not only will you be pressing down on your expanding breasts, but you will be pressing down on your baby bump.
Ms Ngo Xueting, a Senior Physiotherapist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) explains that this sleeping position can also affect the alignment of your spine and could cause neck pain.
Use extra pillows
An inexpensive and easy way to get more support and comfort during bed time is to use an extra pillow in the following ways:
- Prop a pillow under your belly or between your knees for more belly and back support
- Position a pillow under your body to help keep you on your side and to prevent you from rolling onto your stomach or back
- Put a pillow under your side to raise your chest to help with any shortness of breath
- If you suffer from heartburn, use a few extra pillows to prop up your head even more as this will help keep acids down in your stomach
- Use a bolster pillow in between your bent knees or hug it for greater support
You can also get a pregnancy pillow which has been specifically designed to provide extra comfort and support for pregnant mums, so you can get some proper shut-eye.
The unique design will offer more support for your back, baby bump and knees and usually comes with removable pillow covers which you can easily slip off to machine-wash or also choose other pretty patterns to match your sheets and bedroom decor.
Pros: Provides optimum support due to the unique shape; Can also be used as a breastfeeding pillow.
Cons: Expensive; Bulky so takes up a lot of space on the bed.
Popular choices: U-shaped 3D Pregnancy and Maternity Pillow ($85.88) from Lazada, Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow ($116.10) from Agape Babies, Red Castle Big Floppy Maternity Pillow ($151.30) from Pupsik Studio, Dreamgenii Pregnancy and Nursing Support Pillow ($158) from Mothercare.
Tips to help you sleep better
If you are still struggling to get some proper sleep during your pregnancy, here are a few more tips to help you catch some peaceful zzz’s:
- Try new sleeping positions
- Take a nice warm bath to unwind before bed time
- Ask your partner to give you a relaxing massage
- Set up your room for a comfortable sleep setting.
- Make sure your bed room is at a comfortable temperature so that you’re not too hot and sweaty, nor are you too cold
- Playing some soothing music or natural sounds which can help make you feel sleepy
- Try meditation or relaxation techniques
- Read a book
- Eat a light and healthy snack
- Drink a glass of warm milk
Your pregnant body is now going through so many changes and is preparing itself for your little one’s arrival, so your usual sleeping pattern may be disrupted.
Hopefully once you try our suggested tips and stick to the safe sleeping positions you can finally get a good night’s sleep.
What are your favourite sleeping positions? Do you have any tips for other pregnant mums to help them get a good night’s rest? Share your comments with us below.