Almost everything I read says sleep on your left. Fine. Why? What are the main advantages. Why is it less effective to sleep on the right side? I also hear that it is extremely bad to lay on your back. One books says that it restricts air to the baby's brain. But is that is the case then why would some yoga poses and stretches occur with moma on her back.
Is it bad to be in a semi-twist position when lying down, as in lower body to one side and upper body facing up?
I guess I am trying to understand the actual mechanics of these warnings, then it will sink in more at an unconscious level. Right now I do my best to do the "text" book sleeping position to the left but when I wake up who knows what position I will be in.
Oh *sigh* - I feel like the closer I get to EDD the more I want to make sure I don't "screw up" does that make sense? The not great dreams don't help either. I feel like I'm getting ready for my first prom. Ready and not quite in the same time. Ay yay yay.
But, for the textbooks:
Sleeping on your back- as your uterus gets bigger and heavier over the course of the pregnancy, laying on your back can cause problems. When laying on your back the weight can compress the aorta and vena cava (causing circulation related problems, like low blood pressure/dizziness/shortness of breath) and also press on the intestines (leading to or making worse things like indegestion & hemorrhoids). It can also cause or worsen backache since the extra weight can push the muscles into slightly odd positions.
But if you're comforotable on your back then it's not a problem for you! If you're uncomfortable you'll roll over, or wake up, or wake feeling funky in the morning...so just pay close attention to how you feel and experiment to find the "right" position(s) for you. I know I often wake on my back and I just roll over and add a few pillows for more support/comfort.
Also, in terms of yoga poses and some other exercises...you'll find most books/videos/instructors will tell you to pay attention to how you feel and if you get dizzy or short of breath in a position then either alter it or avoid it. And even the most committed yogini is probably not holding an inversion for 20-30 minutes in her third trimester! And it's the prolonged "on the back" position that can cause the real problems.
Sleeping on the left side (instead of the right): because of how the body is "plumbed" things tend to circulate better and drain more easily when you're on your left side instead of your right side. It's not a huge deal, just making things a tiny bit easier for your body systems by using gravity to your advantage.
So that's the "mechanics" of the sleep advice...but unlike the dress/hair style disasters that are so common at the first prom...you're not going to screw anything up by making yourself comfy!
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I think this one is aiming to be sunny-side-up, so perhaps I'll make more of an effort to stay in that left-side sleeping position from now on. I'll try anything that might help to get this kid into a more favorable position for birth.
As for yoga, my yoga teacher always advises that we use a folded blanket under our hips, or rolled down the middle of our back for any flat-back poses, and several she just doesn't recommend at all during pregnancy. If you're doing yoga, I'd be certain you're using a book/CD/or class recommended for pregnancy - there are certain poses you really shouldn't do while pregnant - for example, twists (though certain gentle twists are okay), because in general twists are expelling - and you don't want to expell anything at this point!
I think the PPs are correct though - do what's comfortable, and if you don't like the idea of waking up on your back, just leave a pillow behind you - whatever side you're sleeping on, so that if you do roll to your back, you don't roll completely flat.
Tweet me: @kellynaturally Working Mom to 2 Montessori-schooled kids. We're a vegetarian family! I blog at kellynaturally.com <--link in my profile!
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so, no new info re: sleeping (although, when not prego i always lay on my left side when i'm having digestion issues--yoga advice), just empathy!
Now i'm a all over the bed sleeper, have horrible sleep pregnant or not. I cant stand being flat on my back ever .. but if you like your back, the having a small pillow under your lower ribs toward your hip really keeps the strain off it, even slightly toward teh left is good if you dont like the feel of being on your side.
Body pillows are great fro keeping you inline if you feel you must sleep a certain way!
good luck! happy and restful sleep
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