You may sleep well -- and more often than usual -- during the first trimester. Your body is working hard to make a baby, so you will tire easily and need to sleep a lot. But later in your pregnancy, you may have a hard time sleeping well.
Your baby is growing bigger, which can make it hard to find a comfy sleeping position. If you've always been a back or stomach sleeper, you might have trouble getting used to sleeping on your side (as doctors recommend). Also, shifting around in bed becomes harder as you get bigger.
Other things may keep you from sleeping:
Try sleeping on your side. Lying on your side with your knees bent will likely be the most comfortable position. It makes it easier for your heart to pump because it keeps the baby from putting pressure on the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from your legs.
Many doctors tell pregnant women to sleep on the left side. Sleeping on the left side also improves blood flow among the heart, the fetus, uterus, and kidneys. It also keeps pressure off your liver. If your left hip starts to be too uncomfortable, it is ok to switch for a while to your right side. It is best not to sleep flat on your back.
Try using pillows under your belly or between your legs. Also, using a bunched-up pillow or rolled-up blanket at the small of your back may relieve some pressure. You can also try an egg crate type of mattress on your side of the bed to give some relief for sore hips.
These tips will safely improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep:
If you feel stressed or anxious about becoming a mom, think about taking a childbirth class to help you prepare for being a parent.
Do not take any sleep aids. This includes over-the-counter medicines and herbal products. They are not recommended for pregnant women. Don’t take any medicines for any reason without talking to your health care provider.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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