How to Sleep When Pregnant and the Effects on Baby’s Health

Great news, you’re pregnant! Having a baby is a huge blessing — and can also feel like a total challenge with an insurmountable learning curve. Your body is in the midst of crazy changes, emotions are running high, and on top of that, you’re probably relearning how to do simple stuff that you’ve taken for granted up until now. This can be as easy as tying your shoes, or as complex as worrying about what foods you can and can’t eat (now that you’re eating for two). Maybe the most important skill you didn’t count on having to relearn was how to sleep when pregnant.

Sleep is vitally important to our health — for everybody, but especially when you’re pregnant. The NICHD recommends that pregnant women get at least eight or nine hours every night (this number trends even higher during the later stages of pregnancy, when you should get up to ten hours of sleep!) This rest time is crucial for the development of your baby, and your health as a mother — learning how to sleep when pregnant is a vital skill that will give your baby the best chance at a happy and healthy future. And while this can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re battling weird pillow positions, acid reflux, and a bad back, you shouldn’t worry. We’re here to help! We’ve come up with some tips on the best ways to sleep when pregnant, so you can enjoy the pregnancy you’ve always dreamed of.

SOS is the Best Way to Sleep When Pregnant

SOS isn’t just a distress call, it’s a handy guide for learning how to sleep when pregnant. The acronym stands for Sleep On Side, and nurse practitioners and dulas have been teaching it for decades.  At its heart is a technique designed for mothers to have comfort, while also ensuring the best possible health for your baby. Sleep on your side as you normally would, tucking a pillow in between your thighs for comfort and back relief. This is all about relieving lower back pressure that may have built up during the day, releasing tension as you drift off to sleep.

Don’t sweat the side thing too much. Depending on what’s more comfortable, you can try to sleep on the left side or the right side: there’s no worry of harming your baby either way. The biggest key is to find a spot in bed that leaves you comfortable, untroubled, and well-rested. You should feel revitalized in the morning, aware and present for every beautiful moment. You deserve to cherish the miracle of your pregnancy. And remember, it’s not indulgent to sleep more than usual! You deserve it. What’s good for you is good for baby.  

Sides Matter: Sleeping on Your Left

While you can choose to sleep on either the right or left side,  there’s evidence to suggest that sleeping on your left may give a prenatal boost to your baby. Sleeping on the left side increases the amount of blood flow and nutrients to the placenta (and by proxy your baby) while you sleep. This uses gravity and circulation to naturally increase circulation to you and your baby. It’s a simple idea that’s been around in some for since the middle ages, proving once again that mother always knows best.

Relax and Enjoy Learning How to Sleep

Don’t overthink it, stress is the biggest enemy of sleep. If you’re up worried about how to sleep while pregnant, take a moment of quiet meditation and just relax. Yes, your body is going through some major changes, but while it might not always be easy (heartburn, hemorrhoids, and back problems), it’s important to remember that you’re doing your very best — for you, and for baby.

And if you’re still stressing, feeling like you need more advice on how to sleep while pregnant, make sure you check out the Nectar blog for all kinds of sleep tips, tricks, and ways to get the rest you deserve. It’s a great way to keep up with sleep news whether you’re a new mom, dad, or even a cute little baby. Check out this article on why sleep is the most important health choice you can make for 2018 and feel empowered to be the best sleeper you can be!

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