finally a good night's sleep

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Once your belly starts to get in the way, sleeping soundly may become a difficult task. You will have to switch sleeping positions if you were a stomach sleeper before in order to accommodate your growing girth.

Fortunately, I have come up with some tips from my own experience and research to show you how to sleep while pregnant.

What to Expect as Your Pregnancy Progresses

For women who have never been pregnant, the first trimester is a combination of surprises and excitement. The problems often faced in the first trimester include increased urination frequency, lack of energy, nausea, and discomfort with body changes.

Rob J. Our Expert

First-time mothers who did not expect to be so tired throughout pregnancy may experience some relief during the second trimester. You may start to feel more energetic. However, nightmares and heartburn often become more of an issue.

And, the most sleep challenged stage of pregnancy is the third trimester. Some women find themselves struggling to stay asleep with the inability to get comfortable, exhaustion from trying to keep up with the demands of your normal schedule, and the frequency of having to go to the bathroom.

Which Sleeping Positions Work Best?

When you are pregnant, what are the safest sleeping positions? Your back is definitely not ideal after the fifth month. You put extra pressure on your inferior vena cava and aorta when you sleep on your back.

The inferior vena cava is the blood vessels that run behind your abdomen and carry blood from your feet and legs back to your heart. You will slow blood circulation to you and your baby when you put pressure on these vessels.

In addition, while lying on your back, you might find it tougher to breathe. Lying on your back can also lead to tummy troubles because your stomach pushes down on your intestines.

You may think that sleeping on your belly will solve these problems. Not so fast! Your stomach presses on your ballooning breasts and expanding uterus when you try to sleep face down.

The safest position for your baby right now is side sleeping. As your abdomen grows, it also starts to be more comfortable.

Which side of the body is better to sleep on? Your left side is best according to experts. You get improved circulation which is important for giving nutrient-packed blood an easier route to the placenta from your heart to nourish the baby.

You can also keep your increasing body weight from pushing down on your liver by lying on the left side. Left is best though either side is okay.

Hints for Making Sleeping Easier

As you figure out how to sleep while pregnant, here are a few other positioning tips that will protect your baby and help you get more comfortable while you sleep:

Prop a pillow between your knees or under your stomach for more back and belly support. Use a pillow you have in the closet at home or buy a special extra-long pregnancy pillow.

Rob J. Our Expert

You can also prevent yourself from rolling on your back or tummy by positioning a pillow under your body to keep you on your side. Put a pillow under your side to raise your chest if you find you are experiencing shortness of breath.

Use blocks or books to prop up the head of the bed a few inches to help get rid of acid reflux. Rather than allowing acids to burn their way up your esophagus, this will help keep them in your tummy.

Most of All, Relax

If you roll from your side to your back or front while you are sleeping, do not panic! Rather than trying to wake yourself up every few minutes to stay on your side, you are better off letting your body move to where it is more comfortable.

Right now, you need as much sleep as you can get. And, in a few short months, when you baby starts waking you up for feedings throughout the night, you will appreciate the extra rest.

These hints and tips should show you how to sleep while pregnant. You can also get additional information by talking to your OB/GYN or midwife. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of pregnancy. Sleep well!