Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Donna Arand, sleep expert
Sleeping on your side is best while you're pregnant. In particular, sleeping on your left side may benefit your baby by improving blood flow – and therefore nutrients – to the placenta. It also helps your kidneys efficiently eliminate waste products and fluids from your body, which in turn reduces swelling in your ankles, feet, and hands.
It's a good idea to start training yourself early in pregnancy to sleep on your left side whenever you can. Of course, staying in one position all night isn't likely to be comfortable, so turning from side to side while favoring your left side is probably the best strategy.
As for sleeping on your back, avoid that position throughout pregnancy, especially in the later months. Here's why:
When you're sleeping on your back, the weight of your uterus lies on the spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels. This can lead to muscle aches and pains, hemorrhoids, and impaired circulation, which is uncomfortable for you and can reduce circulation to your baby.
Back sleeping can make blood pressure drop, causing some expectant moms to experience dizziness. On the other hand, in some moms-to-be it can make blood pressure go up.
Finally, back sleeping can cause snoring and, with increased weight, could lead to sleep apnea.