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Pregnancy quickly begins to affect your body. Long before your baby begins to develop a lump, you will experience morning sickness, frequent urination, and other symptoms that will make it harder for you to fall asleep. For many women, first trimester wasting is exacerbated by the fact that they still hide their pregnancy from friends and acquaintances.
Not sure how to sleep during first trimester pregnancy? We've put together tips on how to deal with the most common first trimester sleep problems so you can rest to raise a healthy baby.
How to sleep better in the first trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy can be difficult, but practicing good sleep can help you sleep better and increase your overall sleep time.
What is the best sleeping position in the first trimester?
In the first trimester, you can sleep in any position you like, but it is wise to start practicing sleeping on your side. Numerous studies show that sleeping on the left side is the best sleeping position for you and for the fetus later in pregnancy. As the baby grows, it improves blood circulation by preventing pressure from the uterus on the veins, back and internal organs. Switching to this position early can make the transition easier for those who prefer to sleep on their stomach or back.
On the other hand, sleep is a good thing to strive for in the first trimester. Don't worry too much if you can't fall to your side. You can also continue sleeping on your back or stomach until you feel uncomfortable. Pregnant women with breast tenderness can try wearing a loose bra for sleeping.
Sleep products to help you fall asleep in the first trimester
Vitamins for pregnant women are very important in order for the fetus to receive enough nutrition for proper development. Prenatal vitamins can help prevent conditions such as restless legs syndrome, a common cause of insomnia in pregnant women. The cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown, so it is unclear if the condition is caused or exacerbated by a deficiency in one or more vitamins.
The first trimester of pregnancy is a very delicate stage, so it is best to avoid taking any medications, especially sleeping pills.
Is it safe to sleep on the stomach while pregnant?
There is no evidence that sleeping on your stomach during the early weeks of pregnancy is harmful. The walls of the uterus and amniotic fluid soften and protect the fetus.
However, most people find it increasingly difficult to sleep on their stomachs as their belly grows and lifts their torso, altering the natural curvature of the spine.
Sleeping on your stomach can also cause neck and shoulder problems such as pain, stiffness, and soreness. Some people experience pain in the lower back and pelvic girdle during pregnancy, which makes it harder for them to fall asleep.
Researchers have found an association between poor sleep quality and several pregnancy outcomes, such as:
- high blood pressure
- Diabetes mellitus during pregnancy
- premature birth
- unplanned cesarean section
A person who prefers to sleep on their stomach can use a sleeping pillow with a cutout for the belly.
Best sleeping positions during pregnancy
Doctors generally recommend sleeping on your side during pregnancy. A 2019 review shows it is safe to sleep on either side during pregnancy.
Sleeping on the left side is considered by many to be the “ideal” sleeping position during pregnancy. This is mainly due to blood flow.
The large vein, known as the inferior vena cava (IVC), runs parallel to the spine on the right side. The IVC transports deoxygenated blood from the lower body and back to the right side of the heart for oxygenation.
Since the IVC is to the right of the spine, lying on the left side can provide optimal blood flow to the heart and blood, as well as nutrients for reaching the fetus.
An earlier study of people sleeping on their right side during pregnancy found that sleeping on the left side was associated with a higher likelihood of stillbirth.
In theory, sleeping on the right side, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, can constrict the IVC, decreasing the return of blood to the heart and decreasing placental blood flow.
However, recent studies show that people who sleep on their right side during pregnancy are not more likely to have a late stillbirth than people who sleep on their left side. Falling asleep on both sides seems equally safe.
It is generally safe to sleep on your stomach during pregnancy, although it can be uncomfortable and cause back or neck pain.
Research shows that it is safe for people to sleep in whatever position they prefer until around 30 weeks of gestation. However, in late pregnancy, people should try to sleep on their side - ideally on the left side for optimal blood flow to the fetus.
People should avoid sleeping on their back from 28 weeks pregnant to prevent adverse symptoms and effects.