Complicated nights are a bit of what makes the third trimester of pregnancy tricky. Lack of comfort, cramps, pain, an impossible stomach or baby who moves after dark, finding the right position to sleep while pregnant is sometimes an impossible mission, or almost. Fortunately, millennia of tired future mothers have seen the emergence of several comfortable positions for sleeping while pregnant : Elhée presents them to you!
- Pregnancy and sleep: a story to sleep on your feet
- The best position for sleeping while pregnant: lying on your left side
- Two positions to avoid to sleep better while expecting baby
- Elevating your legs at night: useful or not during pregnancy?
- 3 essential items to save the nights of the 3rd trimester… and others!
- 7 unstoppable tips to promote your sleep
Pregnancy and sleep: a story to sleep on your feet
Need to pee all the time, headaches, stomach cramps, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) , painful legs and back, cramps, labor anxiety, nightmares or fetal movements... Insomnia and pregnancy seem intimately related and logically linked . Add to this the impact of hormonal changes and your partner's awakenings, you get difficult or even very difficult nights to get through.
“Sleep while you can still enjoy it!” » then seems a very unfair injunction for those who would actually like to sleep without being able to do so.
The best position for sleeping while pregnant: lying on your left side
As soon as your belly begins to protrude, the best position for sleeping (and sometimes the only one) often turns out to be on your side, propped up by an army of pillows, a bolster or a pregnancy cushion, with your legs slightly bent. .
The best? Slide a pillow under your stomach and another between your legs to maintain a comfortable position and feel good. (The pregnancy pillow is an essential all-in-one ally here if you want to avoid the profusion of cushions).
Ideally, sleep on your left side to improve your blood circulation and breathing . As long as you feel good, adopt this position without counting, even if it means taking up all the space in the bed, or on the sofa.
Are you wondering? Sleeping on your stomach is another possible and safe option . If you find the position comfortable, don't deprive yourself of it. Your baby is perfectly protected by the amniotic fluid and is not at risk of being crushed.
Two positions to avoid to sleep better while expecting baby
The contraindication is not absolute, but it is the same in both cases. When pregnant, it is recommended to avoid any pressure on the vena cava .
Doctors, midwives and gynecologists therefore recommend that pregnant women – especially in the third trimester, when the stomach becomes heavy – avoid sleeping on their right side . Since the vena cava is located there, it risks being compressed excessively, which can lead to a condition called “cava syndrome” or “poseiro effect”.
The vena cava is a large vein that carries blood from the lower part of the body towards the heart. It is placed slightly on the right side and passes in front of the spine. In the event of pregnancy, the vena cava is therefore “stuck” between the spine and the uterus of the future mother.
Sleeping on your back risks having the same effect, the weight of the baby, the uterus, the amniotic fluid... being this time, above the vena cava.
If when lying on your back or side you feel discomfort , difficulty breathing, dizziness or vertigo, don't panic! Simply turn gently onto your left side to restore good blood circulation and quickly feel better .
Elevating your legs at night: useful or not during pregnancy?
As with everything that is felt during pregnancy and outside of medical prescription, it is up to you to feel if elevating your legs a little in bed allows you to sleep better at night. Indeed, a slightly higher lower body position promotes better blood circulation and provides relief if you suffer from cramps or have heavy legs .
To do it well, slide a cushion directly under the mattress to create an entire raised area, which you will benefit from even if you move.
And then raise your head?
In fact, elevating your head is mainly a matter of finding a compromise with the semi-recumbent position if no other position suits you, if you feel nauseous or if you suffer from reflux .
Because your comfort takes precedence over everything else, use your headboard to prop up large pillows and sink into them, or why not opt for a reading cushion . They will allow you to adopt a semi-sitting position capable of relieving you.
Don't use a headboard or reading cushion? Place your pregnancy pillow behind your neck to find the best possible position.
3 essential items to save the nights of the 3rd trimester… and others!
- The pregnancy pillow is undoubtedly the accessory of choice if you only have to choose one. While it is true that it is bulky, it is precisely its volume that allows you to lie comfortably at night. With your head placed on one end, the cushion along your body to prop up and support your stomach, and the other end passed between your legs, you feel like you are in a cocoon. In addition, the pregnancy cushion transforms, after birth, into a breastfeeding cushion which you can also use to give the bottle comfortably . So don't hesitate to choose it of good quality, pretty and removable so you can easily wash it.
- For its part, the reading cushion can help you find the right position to sleep when you are pregnant, before supporting your insomnia and your best reading moments. Less practical than the nursing pillow and just as bulky, choose it if the semi-reclining position is the only one you can tolerate and if, of course, you have the soul of a passionate reader. In a few months, you will be able to use it with your child to read the first bedtime stories.
- Comfortable and practical maternity pajamas , in soft cotton with a non-marking elasticated waist and enough room to let your belly expand, are also a good asset for more peaceful nights. You can choose it with or without a headband for better support, and also, with or without a breastfeeding system, to continue to wear it once baby is born.
7 unstoppable tips to promote your sleep
- In the evening, have a light meal, but above all easy to digest.
- Avoid coffee and tea as much as possible, which are stimulants. The cause is the caffeine and theine they contain.
- Drink herbal teas ! Good hydration promotes good transit, minimizes the risk of urinary infections, water retention and the feeling of nausea. Herbal teas are therefore your allies during pregnancy and even after . To sleep better, consider herbal teas made from verbena, linden, lemon balm or orange blossom, which are absolutely safe.
- Go to bed and get up at regular times — whenever possible — to promote a regular sleep cycle.
- Treat yourself to the pleasure of sleeping in a cool, well-ventilated and tidy room , for a peaceful sleep.
- Create a gentle, soothing bedtime playlist that you'll want to listen to. Piano, walks, lullabies, white noise... treat yourself and, to enjoy it, treat yourself to headphones or a music station with sound worthy of the most beautiful auditorium.
- Discover acupuncture . In case of sleep problems, it can be of great help to you. Furthermore, this alternative medicine can help you in your preparation for childbirth.
To summarize: sleeping better while pregnant means, above all, sleeping on your left side, comfortably seated with a pregnancy pillow, treating yourself to comfortable pajamas, eating light in the evening and drinking herbal teas. To you ! Tell us what works best for you!