As you may already have discovered, sleeping comfortably through the night can be a challenge. As your belly grows it places more weight through your abdomen which increases the concave angle into the mattress when on your side. Back pain, hip pain, and tingling and numbness in the legs and feet are all common complaints.
Here are 3 simple techniques to help you stay comfortable:
Optimize your pillow configuration. To help decrease Supine Hypotensive Syndrome (lying on your back for extended period can decrease blood flow from your vena cava), I suggest lying on a combination side-sleeping (both sides) and a combination of belly/side sleeping as shown below:
Belly/Side Sleep Position
When side lying adding pillows may help. One between legs, one under top elbow.
Soft mattress or mattress with soft cushion
These might help. Since the contour of your spine increases during pregnancy, a softer mattress will provide more cushion for your waist and hips.
Do I need to get one of those gigantic, fancy pregnancy pillows?
The answer is maybe. Pregnancy pillows provide extra support by snugly fitting the contour of your waist, hips, and underarms. You can try to use additional pillows to provide the extra support, but many women benefit from one large pillow, which allows for smoother transition between sleep positions.
Does your back or SI hurt when you change from side to side or first get out of bed? This is a very common, especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
The sacro-iliac joint (where the back connects to the hip) is susceptible to pain provocation during pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes in the body (relaxin and increased progesterone) help relax the ligaments and joints in preparation for the birthing process.
This ligament laxity loosens the spine, which can lead to instability and pain. Pelvic tilts can reduce discomfort by preparing the SI joint before large movements. I recommend 3-5 pelvic tilts before a change of position. This can be done in any position.
About Our Guest Author
With a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco, and extensive clinical experience, she is committed to providing the highest quality of care and raising awareness about women’s health issues.
Tanya lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young children.