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Best sleeping positions during pregnancy

Between midnight bathroom runs, a racing mind, cramping legs, heartburn and a metabolism that’s turning up your internal thermostat, sleep can be challenging during pregnancy. I know this too well.

Consider it preparation for the sleepless nights that lie ahead. However, getting enough sleep is more important than ever now that you’re snoozing for two.

Mervyn Ewertse, sleep expert and owner of the Bed King gives us a few tips to help us get through the night.

The necessity of sleep
Sleep is the time when your body rests and repairs itself including your blood vessels, which is vital now that they’re under increased pressure from the extra blood flow required to support your baby. Sleep also keeps your immune system, which is suppressed to support your pregnancy, healthy. Plus it controls how your body reacts to insulin. Not getting enough results in a higher blood sugar level, upping your risk of gestational diabetes.

Is left best?
The best sleep position when you’re expecting is on your left side. This position is ideal for your circulation, optimising the oxygen and nutrients that get to your baby, as well as supporting kidney function, taking pressure off your liver and reducing swelling. You should also avoid lying flat on your back all night long. The weight of your growing uterus presses on your vena cava, the artery running blood from your lower body back to your heart, disturbing circulation and possibly making you dizzy. Your womb also weighs on your intestines and back, making common pregnancy symptoms like backaches and hemorrhoids worse.

But don’t fret if you’re not a left side sleeper. As long as you practice the ‘SOS’ position (sleep on side) you’ll be fine. Most women find it uncomfortable to sleep on their back after their 4th month and you might find that you roll onto your side regardless.

Does your mattress play a role?
Besides using pillows under your belly, between your thighs, and behind your back to alleviate pressure, you could consider investing in a mattress that offers the optimum support far beyond your due date. The ideal mattress will hug the body closely to help align your spine and alleviate aches and pains. Temperature neutrality is also key, since many pregnant women sleep hotter than normal, a bed that absorbs minimal body heat and sleeps fairly cool will be a benefit now and during summer.

Photo by Dexter Chatuluka on Unsplash

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