The medical profession, as the result of research into the optimal sleeping position during pregnancy, now advocate pregnant women sleeping on their left side and advise strongly against sleeping on the back. Moreover, while the medical profession does not actively discourage pregnant women from sleeping on their right, they do emphasize the benefits obtained to both mother and baby if the sleeping position used during pregnancy is habitually the left lateral position. Obstetricians are quick to point out that sleeping on the left side during pregnancy improves the blood flow to the placenta and increases the quantity of nutrients that pass across the placenta and become available for the growing baby.
Sleeping on the left side also assists the kidneys to eliminate waste products and excess fluids from the body. As a direct result of adopting this sleeping position you are less likely to be afflicted with swollen ankles or with feet and hands that appear puffy and swollen. The art to sleeping on your left side is to begin to get used to this sleeping in this position while your pregnancy is in the early weeks and then later, when your abdomen is becoming more unwieldy, sleeping on your left will feel completely natural to you.
The worst sleeping position during pregnancy has to be sleeping on your back: it is not good for you and does not allow your developing baby to obtain as much of the valuable nutrients it needs. Can you imagine the weight of the developing baby lying on all your vital organs, pressing them against your spine? The least of your worries in this respect would be severe backache – but there can be even worse implications.
The full weight of your uterus puts added pressure on the muscles of your back, on your intestines and on the inferior vena cava which is the main vein that brings blood back from the lower part of your body to your heart. So, if you want to prevent backache, sluggish digestive system, impaired breathing, hemorrhoids and problems with your circulation, ignore avoid sleeping on your back during pregnancy.
One of the worst effects of lying on your back to sleep during the third trimester of your pregnancy is the profound effect it has on your circulation. The effects vary and some women experience a distinct drop in blood pressure, causing them dizziness and to feel light-headed. In others, this sleeping position during pregnancy can result in high blood pressure and all the complications that could entail – including development of pre-eclampsia that could threaten the life of both mother and baby.