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nervous back sleeper

446 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  phoebemommy
I sleep on my back because of chiropractic issues that flare up badly if I sleep on my side. Even with all kinds of pillow propping, I can wake up all messed up on my side. I was trying to get in the habit anyway, but I got lazy (there's so many little things to keep track of pregnant!) and it wasn't doing any harm anyway, until a couple nights this week, when I woke up in the night with numb legs from sleeping on my back. The second night freaked me out because first, in my groggy state, I tried to solve the problem by propping myself up more, still on my back. It was quite a while before I realized my legs were still kind of tingly in that position. Finally I got on my side and they were better immediately. But then, I couldn't feel the baby, who I can feel a lot lately, so of course I was up all night.

I've got it worked out now -- a pillow propped under one side on my back keeps me from being on that particular vein. And I feel the baby again just fine. But I'm all nervous-pregnant-lady about it now, thinking, did I just make my baby all tingly, or did I knock 20 points off the baby's IQ?

Anyone else have experience with this?
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did you feel light headed or queasy at all after you woke up? if so, the lying on your back might have even woken you up. you don't mention how pregnant you are, but since you said you are feeling your baby move a lot now, i'm guessing well into the second trimester and maybe even the third. for most women, at some point in the second trimester laying on your back or even reclining to severely can cause the weight of the uterus to press on the inferior vena cava, which is the major vein returning deoxygenated blood from the lower parts of the body to the heart. generally, this is what will cause many women to feel "light headed" or sometimes even sick to their stomachs or queasy. it doesn't cut off the blood flow entirely, just reduces the amount of blood passing through.

so my educated guess is that you didn't just knock iq points off for baby or even make them tingly, but you did perhaps increase the amount of stuff (good, like oxygen in and carbon dioxide out and other waste products out, and bad like maybe the too much salt you had at your last meal or something similar) that was able to diffuse/osmose across the placental barrier because of the increased time it took to completely move through that area.

that said, i think i can understand about the chiropractic problems, but as your uterus and baby get bigger and heavier, laying on your back might even become more uncomfortable. do you have a pregnancy body pillow? i'm about to order myself a Snoogle after doing without a body pillow my last pregnancy. i was so uncomfortable with what i thought were average pregnancy aches and pains last time, but now i know that it was pretty significant pubic symphysis joint pain probably due to some pelvic misalignment. i'm already seeing a chiropractor this time around because the p.s. joint pain has already started, and i've been reading up on things to help minimize the pain.

hope this helps! and try not to worry about doing harm to your babe when you accidentally find yourself in an uncomfortable body position with tingly-ness! just think of it as your body warning you that it isn't feeling good and so you get woken up to fix it.

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Somebody (chiro or midwife, I can't remember which) suggested putting a thin pillow or wedge on one side under my hips so that I wasn't sleeping quite flat on my back - that prevents blocking that artery, but also not on my side (hurts my back if I do it too long). That seems to work somewhat. It also helps me if I bend my knees or prop them up.

Good luck!
I LOVE my Snoogle and use it in conjuction with a body pillow to make a big donut-like thing that I can sink into. It helps take all the pressure off my hips. It is a hassle to get out of for those night runs to the toilet.

I also like to make sure I have something behind my back so that I'm not flat when I roll over (when I don't do the donut thing). You have to play with it to get the right amount of prop.

Good luck!
Thanks for the responses! I'm thinking about getting one of those pregnancy pillow things, but so far the pillow wedged under one side is mostly working. It also really eased my mind to hear your educated guess about the effects of cutting off circulation... All I could find in any literature said, "lying on your back can cut off circulation and harm the baby, but don't worry too much about it." How is that for ambiguous and unclear?

Thanks again,
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