As pregnancy goes on most woman experience difficult sleeping due to either acid reflux or hip and shoulder pain while sleeping on their sides. It’s important to get good sleep during pregnancy because fatigue can put you at risk for complications.
Acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophogial Reflux Disease) is common during pregnancy because of a slowing of the muscles that control swallowing. Often the acid reflux is worst at night, after dinner,when you are trying to find an agreeable position. A supported reclined position can be a comfortable position to sleep in. One of the most critical aspects of finding a safe and comfortable position is ensuring the angle of your body. A 45 degree angle is ideal because it ensures the weight of the baby is not on your Vena Cava reducing blood flow to the baby and placenta.
Generally if your position is causing the baby stress your body will wake yourself up. Many women are viscerally aware when the uterus is pressing on their vein so use your awareness and trust your intuition when getting settled.
Many women find the best compromise for them is a combination face down/side laying position with a small pillow under their belly similar but not exactly like the picture at the right.
Sleeping on your left side is the recommended safest position during the second and third trimesters because it allows the most blood flow and nutrients to get to the placenta and the baby. However, this position puts a lot of pressure on your shoulder and hip and can result in painful aches. This results in a lot of restless nights changing positions and moving pillows. Regular massage will help to relieve some aches and can relax you into peaceful sleep.
I invested in an OakWorks Side Laying Positioning System for maximum comfort during prenatal massage. Most of the massage is done in the side laying position but there is a torso pillow that takes the pressure off of your shoulders and hips while supporting your head and keeping your top leg just above hip height. There is also a little wedge pillow to support your belly. Depending on your needs during the massage we may move you to the supported reclined position to work on your neck or give a gentle belly massage.
A number of clients wish they had pillows this comfortable for every night sleeping. I am considering buying a second set to rent to clients for the final months of their pregnancy. Please let me know if this is something you might be interested in.