Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to pregnancy advice.
"You should sleep like this so you can get enough rest!"
"Sleeping on your back will not pose a risk to your child."
And, with all of the information available on the Internet, it can be downright confusing at times. So, what is the most comfortable sleeping position for a pregnant woman? Here are the facts.
Misconception: It's Dangerous to Lay on Your Back While Pregnant
The truth is most doctors recommend sleeping on your left side over your right because the vena cava (large veins that bring deoxygenated blood to your heart to get oxygen) is located to the right of your spine, allowing blood to flow more freely to your baby. We are only told to avoid sleeping on our back because it can cause backaches, shortness of breath, and digestive issues.
There is also the theory that lying on your back compresses the vena cava, disrupting blood flow to your baby. It is safe for pregnant women to sleep on their backs for comfort during the first trimester. When your belly grows and puts pressure on your spine and back muscles, sleeping on your side will become more convenient. So, yes, sleeping on your back is perfectly safe as long as you start switching positions in the second trimester.
Can Your Sleep Position cause Stillbirth?
Although some studies have discovered a small link between stillbirth and sleep position, there is no strong evidence that sleeping on your baby during pregnancy will harm your baby. The findings come from a few studies: in a 2017 study, researchers from the University of Auckland discovered that pregnant women who sleep on their backs during their third trimester may be putting undue stress on their fetuses, which may increase the risk of stillbirth.
A 2011 study of 500 pregnant women found that sleeping in the supine position increased the risk of late stillbirth—though other pregnancy complications could have influenced these findings. In addition, a 2019 study published in The Lancet concluded that avoiding sleeping on one's back during pregnancy would reduce the risk of stillbirth by 6%. (Source: www.parents.com)
And don't worry if you woke up sleeping on your back! Your baby is safe because your body would become dizzy and nauseous before your baby was in any real danger of not receiving enough oxygen.
The Best Sleeping Position for Pregnant Women
The best sleeping position for all stages of pregnancy is "SOS" (sleep on side), which provides the best circulation not only for you but also for your baby. SOS reduces the amount of pressure on your internal organs and veins while increasing the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta. Make sure your knees and legs are bent to stay comfortable. Sleeping on your side can significantly reduce back pain. This position and pillow propping, with the help of a maternity pillow, can help with heartburn and shortness of breath, especially in the final stages of pregnancy.
A new study suggests that they can choose whatever position is most comfortable for the majority of the pregnancy. Over 8,700 women were asked about their sleeping positions several times during their pregnancy. A third of the participants also underwent a sleep study in which their positions were recorded. The researchers looked for a variety of negative pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, high blood pressure disorders, and having a baby that was too small for its gestational age. These results were experienced by 22% of the women in the study.
However, when researchers compared these pregnancy complications to a woman's sleep position, they found no link. Dr. Robert Silver, the study's lead author, stated that more research needs to be done in later pregnancy to see if the results are the same.
In conclusion, SOS should be the sleeping position for pregnant women to be safe. What’s the most comfortable sleeping position for you? If you’re using a maternity pillow, how did it help you sleep more soundly? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.