Sleeping and getting comfortable at night can be one of the most challenging experiences during pregnancy! Sleeping is an aspect of pregnancy that is not generally talked about and women are often left alone to figure out how to set up pillows and determine what positions are not only safe, but at all comfortable. Unless otherwise instructed by her provider, pregnant women can sleep in different positions depending on the stage of her pregnancy:
|1st Trimester (conception-13wks)||2nd Trimester (14-26 weeks)||3rd Trimester (27-40 weeks)|
|Prone (face down) or Supine (face up) is safe during the beginning of pregnancy.Alternative Option: Some women are more comfortable lying on her side(s) esp. if she is carrying twins, has tender breasts and/or does not want to put pressure on her uterus.||Side-Lying! Avoid lying flat on your back or on your stomach after 14 weeks.Alternative option: from 14-22 weeks, a pregnant mom can lay on her back (supine) with a wedge or soft cushion under her right hip to tilt the pelvis to the left to help circulation.||
Side-Lying or Semi-Reclining! It is no longer appropriate or encouraged to sleep on her back or her belly. Some women can only get comfortable sitting up (Semi-Reclining) in a recliner, especially if she has heartburn.
Side-Lying is ideal during pregnancy! Here are some guidelines for sleeping on your side and where to place pillows:
- Shoulders! It is easy to collapse your shoulders and chest while lying on your sides, so it is recommended that you lay square on your bottom shoulder and try not to rotate it in, but lay right on your deltoids (square on your upper arm).
- Neck! It is common for people to put their shoulder on the pillow that their head is resting on, but it is so much more comfortable and supportive to bring that pillow out from under your bottom shoulder, and have it only under your head to support curve of your neck.
- Legs! Instead of no pillows or one pillow between your legs, try keeping your bottom leg straight and only bend your top leg on two firm pillows that bring your knee and ankle up to the same height as your hip. If the pillows are too soft then your leg sinks down pulling your body forward and potentially onto your belly, so find firm pillows!
Here are some pillows that can be used during pregnancy and creatively during the postpartum trimester that many of my massage clients love to use:
Side-Lying is a safe, nurturing and effective position to receive a massage!
Schedule a massage at Anchorage Women’s Clinic and learn more details and techniques for setting up pillows and getting comfortable at night!
Juliana Santillanes, LMT