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Can I sleep on my back during pregnancy?

Pregnancy – what an adventure! And one thing that often comes up is sleep. You might be wondering, “When is it okay to sleep on my back?” I’ve been there, and I'm here to share what I’ve learned along the way.

Understanding Our Pregnancy Journey: Trimesters Explained

So, we've got these three trimesters, each with its own set of quirks. In the first trimester, you might not feel a lot of changes in your sleep. But as your bump grows (hello, second and third trimesters!), your usual sleeping position might need a bit of a tweak.

Early Pregnancy: The Laid-Back Days

During the first trimester, back sleeping is usually fine. I remember being able to snooze in my usual position without any fuss. But, it’s a great time to start trying out new positions – your body will start asking for it very soon…

The Middle and Later Stages: Why Back Sleeping Gets Tricky

Here's where things change. Lying on your back can put pressure on the vena cava (that's the big vein that carries blood back to the heart). But there's more to it, and recent studies give us clearer insights. Research using MRI has shown that in late pregnancy, when mothers lie on their backs, it compresses the inferior vena cava. This can lead to an 80% reduction in blood flow. Not just that, but this position also partly compresses the pregnant woman’s aorta. What does this mean? Well, it reduces the blood and oxygen supply to the uterus, placenta, and fetus. That’s pretty significant, right?

So, when it comes to sleeping on your back, especially after the 28th week of pregnancy, switching to your side is not just a good idea – it's vital. In fact, new research shows that women can halve their risk of stillbirth by sleeping on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy, compared with sleeping on their back.

But seriously, don't stress too much about this. You'll find that adjusting to side sleeping often comes quite naturally and seamlessly. It's all about keeping you and your little one safe and healthy, and your body has a remarkable way of adapting to these changes.

Finding Comfort

To make side sleeping your new best friend, consider these fan favourites:

  • Pregnancy Pillows: The 'Bellybean Maternity Pillow' is a game-changer. Compact and comfy, it was my nighttime companion.
  • Body Pillows: I also loved the 'Big Flopsy' by Red Castle. It’s like a giant, supportive cuddle for your whole body!
When to Seek Advice: A Mum’s Point of View

Just like our little ones, every pregnancy is unique. If something feels off or you're just not sure about your sleep, have a chat with your healthcare provider. They're like our navigators through this wild journey.

Quick Guide

Is back sleeping ever okay during pregnancy?
In the first trimester, yes. But as your pregnancy progresses, side sleeping, especially on the left, is the way to go.

What if I wake up on my back?
No stress – just roll over to your side. This will happen countless times! Navigating sleep during pregnancy can be a bit of a puzzle, but it's all about finding what works for you and your bub. 

Remember, every mum’s journey is different, so trust your instincts and listen to your body. Wishing you all the best of sleeps.


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