As your pregnancy progresses through trimester 2, the uterus has grown significantly in size. When you lie on your back, it rests on a blood vessel called Vena Cava. The vena cava is the vessel through which all of the blood flows back out of your lower body. If it is clogged, the blood will find it harder to return to your heart, which means that it will not be able to circulate so quickly, making you feel numb, tingling, and light-headed. This also affects the blood flow to your developing baby.
This increase in pressure also causes back pain, can cause difficulty breathing, and can put pressure on the digestive system, which can slow down transit and cause constipation. The pressure can also be sufficient to cause hemorrhoids. Use a body pillow that is behind your back to prevent rolling at night, and sleep with a pillow between your knees to support your hips.
Some recent studies suggest a correlation between an increase in stillbirth and sleeping on the back.
The best sleeping position during pregnancy is “SOS” (Sleep on Side). It is even better to sleep on the left side. When you sleep on the left side, the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby increases.
Sleep on your back
This can cause problems with back pain, breathing, digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and a decrease in blood flow to your heart and baby.
Keep your legs and knees bent and place a pillow between your legs.
- If you have problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position and also place a pillow under your stomach.
- If you suffer from heartburn at night, try pillow-supporting your torso.
- Shortness of breath may occur in late pregnancy. Try to lie on your side or be supported with pillows.
These suggestions may not sound very pleasant, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out. You may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not be in one position all night and rotating positions are fine.
Types of pillows
Wedge – Wedge pillows are wedge-shaped pillows that reduce back strain by sliding under your belly to support your growing bulge while you sleep on your side.
C-shaped – C-shaped pillow that supports and aligns your hips, back, neck and stomach. Depending on the direction in which you place the C-shape, the entire length of your back or torso can be padded and the pillow can also be inserted between your knees.
U-shaped – The U-shape of this pillow provides bumper cushioning on both sides of you. Just put your head on the bottom of the U shape and no matter which side you sleep on, you need to squeeze a pillow (you no longer need to take the pillow with you when you turn the pages).
Side sleepers – It has two swollen wedge pillows that are connected by a band of stretchy jersey fabric. One pillow supports your stomach while the other supports your back and prevents you from rolling on your stomach or back in the middle of the night.
Contoured – Similar to the U, but with curves on the long “arms” to provide additional support for the lower back and stomach.
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