Ways to make side sleeping work First trimester. Back sleeping, pregnancy, stillbirth, safe to sleep on back when pregnancy. Your stomach? Coaching. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. And sleeping on stomach at that time might not only aggravate the pain but may also lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and discomfort (Writing on iPhone so I apologize for any typos, errors, etc. “This big blood vessel is what brings blood flow back to your heart,” Dr. Zanotti explains. I had incredible hip pain from sleeping only on my sides while pregnant. The pain is not too bad yet but I am scared it will just get worse with time if I go against my natural instincts and force myself to sleep on my left side only. Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can result in digestive issues like indigestion or heartburn. Otherwise try sleeping in a recliner or other comfy armchair, if you have one, in a semi-upright position. But these big people rarely pass out and are physically unable to sleep on their left side. If you typically sleep on your back, it's safe to continue doing so through the first trimester. It’s frustrating how little the docs will tell you about how to know or sense if you are putting yourself or baby at any kind of risk. Only Nipple Stimulation Works. The reviewers build a compelling case: First, only very small percentage of pregnant women experience low blood pressure when lying on their back. Two hundred twenty women who had recently given birth reported their sleep practices during pregnancy. This week, at 23 weeks pregnant, I have fractured my hip from sleeping in my left side from all that information. It almost seems like that’s what happens with a lot of “dangers” around pregnancy. I am literally limping all day. So happy to read this article, thank you for doing the research! Back sleeping, pregnancy, stillbirth, safe to sleep on back when pregnancy. I used to sleep on my tummy before I was pregnant and since the start of the pregnancy I have been told to sleep on the left side. Even so, sleeping on one’s back the night before corresponded to a higher risk of a late stillbirth compared to sleeping on one’s left side. But the most dangerous is the squeezing of the vena cava. Maybe now I can stop experiencing this seemingly neverending insomnia.. You’re welcome! In addition, sleeping on back during pregnancy may also affect the functioning of the placenta and may interfere with the delivery of nutrients and blood to your growing baby. Researchers at the University of Auckland. Funnily enough I have previously read the New Zealand data elsewhere and the part about getting up to the bathroom jumped out at me, as well. Even assuming these findings hold up, the absolute risk appears to be very, very low. However, back sleeping is far from the most important risk factor linked to unexplained late stillbirths. The researchers carefully controlled for several known risk factors for stillbirth: obesity, smoking, low socioeconomic status, maternal age, and number of prior children. Postnatal Member's Hub. It has been a big help, but still nothing compares to my pre-pregnancy sleep comfort. Being on my back and right side are the only comfortable positions for me and I have been denying myself the rest based on the myth that lying on my back is harmthful. Is Lying On Your Back During Pregnancy … While pregnant I often thought about my mother and grandmother…did they avoid sleeping on their backs with all of their 11 (combined) healthy pregnancies? Here's How To Time Intercourse. Think about it… not very scientific! Strong circulation and blood supply help in the development of your fetus in the womb. To ask someone who had a still birth after the fact which way they slept the night before? My OBs were not helpful in this regard. And as a second time mom, I was desperate. Be the first to know! Third trimester moms should try to sleep on their sides. Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can strain the back muscles resulting in backaches. Sleeping in any position is generally fine early on. The only remotely comfortable position was lying on my back, propped up with a couple of pillows. When did this tale of back sleeping risk become so prevalent? Once I did, I understood why the advice is confusing to mothers: the underlying research is a mess. Trying to Bring On Labor? Being obese, being over 40, and smoking during pregnancy are far more important. Because the vena cava is located to right of your spine. In my personal opinion, the research is not strong enough to support blanket warnings against back sleeping. Other possible complications associatedinclude difficulty breathing, backaches, hemorrhoids, digestive system problems, decreased circulation, and low blood pressure. I’m currently in my second trimester and have been told to begin sleeping on my left side. I guess I won’t actually worry too much about it though! Amy NortonHealthDay Reporter Thursday, January 8, 2015 (HealthDay News)-Women lying on their backs in late pregnancy may be at a relatively high risk of stillbirth if they already have other risk factors, a new study says Suggests. There may be back pain and impaired intestinal function. We’ll go over whether it’s ok to sleep on your back and stomach while pregnant in your second trimester. BTW, I have some fertility related posts coming soon that might interest you. Researchers at the University of Auckland used an infrared video camera to record pregnant women’s sleep positions, while also monitoring the heart rates of moms and babies. Each of the 30 women involved in the study were between 34 and 38 weeks pregnant, and each of their pregnancies were complication-free. “We … Women can figure out for themselves if lying on their back makes them uncomfortable, and avoid the practice if it does. Even so, sleeping on one’s back the night before corresponded to a higher risk of a late stillbirth compared to sleeping on one’s left side. When you lie on your In fact, sleeping on one’s right side or in any other position than on the left side correlated with a higher risk of stillbirth. Sleep disorders, such as sleep-disordered breathing, also can worsen during pregnancy. But mostly, it felt comfortable. So nervous on what should i need to do and asked a lot of advices which confuses me already but after reading this article, it took the bean in my throat knowing that ‘am now . But it is surprising how quickly that turning onto your back affects baby: when a mother changed position during sleep, such as from side to back, her baby immediately became less active and still. Some doctors recommend the left side over the right because the vena cava is … Based on what we already know about restricted blood flow while sleeping on your back, perhaps it’s not surprising that fetuses were less active when … Thank you for sharing your research! Best, H. Christine, thank you so much for writing this and giving some perspective. More than anything, I wanted to disregard this advice. “You only need to be slightly shifted onto your side to prevent this concern; sometimes this means just putting a pillow under your hip and shoulder on one side,” Heather A. Smith, MD, MPH, FACOG, tells The Bump. When you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus and the baby presses on your inferior vena cava, which is a vein that carries deoxygenated blood … If you think about the the TV program – My 600lb life. And for the Ghana study, it’s unclear how the findings translate to women in a high income country. I am more comfortable in sleeping in my back than doing the side lying positions which numbs my hands and leaves hip pain to me. You can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and behind your back if you like. But if you want to get into the habit of favoring... Second trimester. The days were fine, but the nights were awful. I fall asleep on my side and still end up on my back. In part, this was because I wanted to be conservative: A tilt of 10 degrees (which you can obtain by propping up your right side with a pregnancy pillow or a regular pillow) has been shown to reduce the risk of low blood pressure. But the bulk of the evidence suggests that compression of the vena cava very rarely causes problems. At the end of pregnancy, a woman's uterus and the baby take up a large portion of the body. Lay Down Flat. I was too uncomfortable. Naturally, the first step is to lie down flat. For me, sleeping in with my right side slightly propped up felt pretty safe. Women can easily determine whether lying flat has this effect on them, and most will adopt a comfortable position that is likely to be a left supine position or variant thereof. Don't worry if you wake up on your back – the research looked at the position women fell asleep in, as this is the position we keep for longest. I am so much more comfortable on my back or at least switching to it for a period of time. I’m 6 weeks away from my due date and reading this in the middle of the night because I literally cannot sleep on my side anymore. Pregnancy pillows are designed to support you and your body so you can sleep in safe positions while pregnant. is too long to rest on my back while it’s the only comfortable position. Research suggests that, after 28 weeks, falling asleep on your back can double the risk of stillbirth. It’s normal to change positions during sleep, and if you wake up on your back, you shouldn’t panic. An early beta hCG test does predict your risk of miscarriage. I’ve stressed over how long, 5 mins? Yet, based on these data, no one has proposed that pregnant women should wake up more often to go to the bathroom. Download The Appto explore more tools like Planner+ and Food Safety. Your article has helped put me at ease with this. Podcast. Will you be discussing epidural vs natural birth at all in upcoming posts? In the New Zealand Study, during its 3-year study period, the rate of late stillbirth was 3.09/1000. The rationale for this prohibition is simple enough: lying on one’s back can cause supine hypotensive syndrome, sometimes known as aortocaval compression syndrome. Great article, and I will be sleeping as comfortably as I can, and without being silly about it from now on. I think these researchers need to contemplate what they are actually asking of our bodies when they put this information out. Both seem like reasonable decisions. Third, previous research did not examine back sleeping. Pregnancy was supposed to be an opportunity to stock up on sleep before the newborn period. We all need to sleep comfortably as possible, especially before we have a newborn waking us up at night. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Thanks for presenting some perspective. In the reviewers words: Advising women to sleep or lie exclusively on the left side is not practical and is irrelevant to the vast majority of patients. Well, that’s just not an option right now. The size of the fetus and the uterus constantly increase and begin to squeeze organs and vessels. I got a pregnancy pillow also. Place pillows between your legs and behind your back; full-body and wedge pillows, in particular, are a pregnant woman’s best friend. Even when the researchers controlled for the mother’s age, number of children, gestational age, and pre-eclampsia, these differences remained statistically significant. My doctor also eased my mind about it by telling me that it really isn’t THAT big of a deal if I wake up on my back. Thank you!! As the pregnancy progresses, some pregnant women may have trouble breathing properly or experience shortness of breath while sleeping on the back. Thanks for the great article! This may be to do with the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. But your body may have a way of solving the question for you: if you sleep on your back, you may wake up before long, anyway. A number of normal symptoms during pregnancy might affect or disturb your sleep, including: Physical discomfort, such as tender breasts and back pain. But several pregnancy websites and and my OBs had warned me against sleeping on my back during pregnancy. The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side. Schedule a … I would like to add that they state that the weight of the baby causes compression of the vena cava and therefore causes the mother to have low blood pressure or to even pass out. As your belly grows, you’ll want to make sure your mattress is somewhat firm so your back doesn’t sag. It can result in the mother having low blood pressure, and both the mother and the baby will receive less oxygenated blood. My third trimester in my second pregnancy was rough. We’ll also take a look at some of the common sleep conditions that can arise during the second trimester, including sleep apnea and heartburn, and provide advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. But I needed to know how big a risk, if any, I would be taking by sleeping on my back. Hear about our latest posts via email. If they slept on their backs, babies were slightly more likely to be quietly asleep.These are interesting findings, but there are a few points to note: 1. Sleeping on your back, especially in later stages, is not recommended during pregnancy for the following reasons: The weight of the growing uterus and fetus presses on the inferior vena cava (the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart). It is my first pregnancy that is why ‘am I have to admit, many nights I wake up on my back wondering how long I’ve been that way and worried that I’m hurting the baby. But until now, no study has ever actually monitored what’s happening to baby when women lie on their backs overnight. I am 18 weeks 4 days pregnant and I just woke up with hip pain after a night forced to sleep on my sides, even though I changed the sides a few times during the night and even slept a bit on my back. Your back? I’ve been trying to picture the sleeping position you mean as I can’t quite visualise it but would like to reproduce it for myself and get a bit more sleep! Although the drop in blood pressure is unlikely to harm the mother, the concern is that if a pregnant woman’s oxygen levels drop, her baby’s might too. Even among those women, the changes in their blood pressure do not appear to affect the fetus. Blog. Under normal circumstances, though, women typically become uncomfortable and change their position before their blood pressure takes a serious dip. I never ever felt any problems laying on my back during my pregnancy: no feeling faint, no feeling breathless and my tummy does not feel heavy nor pressing against anything. Stumbled upon this blog because I went looking for someone, anyone, anywhere, to tell me that it can’t possibly be *that* unsafe to sleep on your back!! When you lay on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy, the weight of your pregnant uterus can decrease the blood flow in the vena cava, the vein that carries blood from the lower part of your body to the heart. Both were quite small, and both relied on women’s ability to recall what positions they slept in. Considered together, these two studies seem reason for caution, but not fear. Thanks so much for writing this article. During pregnancy, you will often hear that sleeping on your back is a bad idea. I have 11 weeks to go and cannot bear the thought of being in this much pain throughout. This review was written in 2007. 20 mins? Each of the 30 women involved in the study were between 34 and 38 weeks pregnant, and each of their pregnancies were complication-free. Why? The information is often so dumbed down that it feels infantilizing. When you chat to your doctor, they will likely recommend you sleep on the left side when pregnant. A broke hip, or possibly getting a bit fainty, which I haven’t experienced on my back at all anyway? A few tips to help you sleep better: You don’t like sleeping on your side. Lying on your back cuts off blood supply by compressing the inferior vena cava. Contact. and the only correct position of sleeping can provide you ultimate comfort. Within the same clinic, one OB told me to avoid lying on my back from 4 months on, another told me to avoid this position from 7 months on, and a third said not to worry until the last month of pregnancy. Thank you so much for this well-written article and well-researched topic! Having previously miscarried I have been torturing myself during this pregnancy trying to sleep on my left hand side despite severe hip bursitis – with resulting sleepless nights! Was it one research study and suddenly all OBs are telling women to sleep on their left side? “Leaning against this pillow can make you feel like you’re on your back so that you’re comfortable, but give you enough of a slant or angle so that your uterus is shifted off of the vessels.”. I’m still working through the infertility bit myself, but I’ve gotten so frustrated with the lack of real information and almost condescending lack of science behind any of the discussions available on the internet or with my drs. Free Stuff. Sleeping on Your Back During Pregnancy Between 15 and 20 weeks gestation, the uterus starts becoming large enough to interfere with blood flow when you sleep on your back. And I hope your insomnia eases up. A pregnant woman woman’s belly can compress the inferior vena cava, a large vein running under the right side of her uterus; and compression of the inferior vena cava can cause a drop in blood pressure. Studies have found no effects on fetal blood flow or on fetal well-being during non-stress tests. Instead, women should be told that a small minority of pregnant women feel faint when lying flat. Forget Sex and Spicy Foods. To put this risk further in perspective, the New Zealand study also found that going to the bathroom an average of once a night or less (as opposed to two or more times) was associated with an increased risk of a stillbirth. Learn how your comment data is processed. That sounds rough. Their responses were compared to 301 control women, who were a similar number of weeks along but with ongoing pregnancies. So please keep writing! Did you avoid lying on or sleeping on your back during pregnancy? No matter how hard I try to sleep on my sides, I end up on my back, and I feel really comfortable! As if women weren’t able to sense their own bodies and shift as they needed to. I’m in week 24 and have had hip pain from sleeping on my sides. When asked, none of them could tell me the magnitude of the risk. Correlation does not prove causation… every good statistics class should teach this. Months of sleep deprivation were my certain future. Sleeping While Pregnant. My masseuse friend tells me how messed up my hips are from doing this, and the nerve pain down my legs keeps me tossing and turning to the point where I give up trying to sleep at all. As your uterus gets larger (usually by the time you’re 20 weeks ― that’s five months ― along), it’s big enough that it lies on top of your inferior vena cava, if you’re lying on your back, explains Cleveland Clinic Ob/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD. The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side. Your Due Date Is Wrong--So When Is Labor Most Likely? It was terrible. This observational study suggests a mother's sleep position may influence their baby's activity in late pregnancy. The truth is, like you said, it’s just so much more comfortable! Can I ask, when you say you slept at a tilt using a pregnancy pillow, did you mean you slept with a slight lateral tilt? Good for you! Thank you so much, Amy (and apologies for calling you ‘Christine’ – must be the sleep deprivation!). Sleeping on your side is the best position for you and your baby during pregnancy, especially once you're more than halfway through. About. But as your uterus gets heavier around mid-pregnancy, it's best to choose another position. Prenatal Hub. This likely sounds scarier than it is. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I will go to my side again, but in the morning I end up waking up on my back, hands behind my head just like I usually sleep. The second study was conducted in New Zealand. You probably already know you’re supposed to sleep on your side during the later stages of pregnancy. That position can cause your uterus to put pressure against blood vessels, restricting blood flow to both your heart and your baby’s. The Fetal "Gender Nub": How To Learn Your Baby's Gender at the First Trimester Screening, Trying to conceive? I am off to a good night sleep (finally!) Not doing wrong and we (my baby) is safe. While it's impossible to stay in one fixed position for sleep each and every night, it's best to completely avoid sleeping on your back, especially during the final months of your pregnancy. The first study was conducted at a maternity ward in Ghana. While some pregnant women may choose sleeping on the back even during pregnancy, it is suggestable to practice and try sleeping on the left side instead. I am 26 weeks pregnant and write this at 3am as sleeping on my left side is almost impossible and I have been through sleepless nights scared of sleeping in my back. Researchers interviewed 155 women who experienced unexplained late stillbirths (after 28 weeks) about their sleep position both before pregnancy and in the last month, the last week, and the last night before their pregnancy ended. Thank you for this article. Thank you for doing the research and writing about it – 5 years on and people still commenting means it’s still a valid concern for pregnant women. Sleeping on the back increases the pressure on the fetuses. Morning Sickness & Miscarriage: How Much Does Nausea Lower Your Risk? ), am 6months pregnant but have found lying on my back the most comfortable position because I had no other comfortable position but at 4 months my lower back could severely pain whenever I woke up but but later stopped and i still don’t know what caused the pain. Back sleeping may exacerbate placental failure by further restricting the fetus’s already compromised blood flow. Sleeping on Your Back when Pregnant. I could not fall asleep. Sleeping on back while pregnant is also not recommended from the beginning of the 2nd trimester. i m 25 weeks pragnant and i just feel comfortable with the back side and midwifes said u should not sleeep back side but for me its very comfortable to sleep back side i m very confuse to sleep back side now coz i after i heard this i cant sleep from the 5 days what should i do i m feels very scary to heard this thing, I try not to sleep on my back, but I can’t help it! If a woman lies flat on her back during labor, it's possible to … This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Sleeping on your back isn't the end of the world, but it can present problems, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. Propping up your back with a pillow, so you are not lying flat, propping up your right hip with a pillow will give you enough of a life to prevent compression. Despite how scary this sounds (“I might be depriving my baby of oxygen without knowing it”), according to a recent research review, back sleeping is safe for the vast majority of pregnant women. Pregnancy pillow + 2 cushions got me through the 2nd trimester but now in the 3rd trimester I am in so much pain from sleeping this way. But during the second trimester of pregnancy, as the baby starts to grow, you might feel leg cramps, knee pain, back pain, etc. I’m an engineer, it drives me crazy I can’t get my hands on real data and information when making such big decisions. Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, the digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. Second, the symptoms of low blood pressure (dizziness, nausea, a rapid heartbeat) are easily recognizable. They have a number of problems. Pregnant women may also talk to a doctor to discuss their options for comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy. Funny thing is, I’m generally a side sleeper (when not pregnant). 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I rarely have to get up to go in the night and don’t understand why this would be a cause for concern. I doubt that I am one of those very few women who would have any blood flow problem lying on my their backs. Compared to women who slept in another position, the 21 women who reported either sleeping on their backs or “backs and sides”, had higher rates of NICU admissions (36.8% vs 15.2%) and stillbirths (15.8% vs 3.0%), and were more likely to have given birth to an underweight baby (36.8% vs 10.7%). I don’t count on doing it when I have my second child. So, what are we to make of these data? “So the thought is if you have anything large that’s pushing against the blood flow return, you’ll have less blood f… Whatever might be other complications, sleeping on back will increase the chances of stillbirth. Unfortunately, since its publication, two more recent studies muddy these waters a bit. For any typos, errors, etc restricting the fetus and the baby have my second.! 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Learn your baby 's activity in late pregnancy may take time—and props, pillows! Was desperate thought of being in this much pain throughout to disregard this advice ’. It feels infantilizing pregnancy pillows are designed to support blanket warnings against back sleeping risk become so prevalent or. Me peace of mind knowing that the risk of stillbirth on their left side not bear the thought being! 23 weeks pregnant, and smoking during pregnancy, especially once you 're more than anything, I desperate.