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struggling to sleep on my side - arms going totally numb

(17 Posts)
tiredfeet Thu 08-Jul-10 10:57:39

I've always slept on my side anyway, so I wasn't at all concerned by the advice to sleep on your side when pregnant. But now (26 weeks) I am really struggling as my arms go totally numb after lying on my side for even a few moments. They were doing this before but mildly - it would wake me up every few hours or so. Last night it was impossible to sleep, I couldn't lie on my back as I felt dizzy, and I couldn't lie on my side for more than a minute or so. I ended up awake for most of the night, and had to go and sit upright in the spare room as it was the only way to be comfortable

has anyone else had this, and, more importantly, is there anything I can do about it?

thank you!

starshaker Thu 08-Jul-10 10:59:17

I get this aswell and im afraid i havent found anything that helps. I always wake up sore and numb. Will be watching with interest

Lastyearsmodel Thu 08-Jul-10 11:01:35

My sympathy. My arms go numb on my side too but not as badly as yours by the sound of it.

Are you hogging all the pillows in the house? I have a carefully arranged pillow mountain that comes with me when I turn over. Could you prop your torso up so less pressure is on your shoulder, if that's what's causing the numbness? And wedge your head pillow right up against your neck so your spine as as straight as possible?

Waking up to turn over is bad, but up all night is the pits...

japhrimel Thu 08-Jul-10 11:15:00

Have you got enough pillow support for your head? You want to have enough pillows so your head and spine are properly aligned when sleeping on your side - if your shoulder gets all crunched up, your arm will go numb.

tiredfeet Thu 08-Jul-10 12:03:34

I think it is partly struggling to get the pillow thing right maybe. I had about 8 pillows but was struggling to know what to do with them. More than one pillow under my head felt like too much, but one didn't feel like enough. Maybe a different type of pillow or something? I've had a pillow between my knees already, will try and find a way to prop myself up more with some of the extra pillows. Gosh there are so many weird changes in pregnancy that I just didn't expect!

Lastyearsmodel Thu 08-Jul-10 13:56:24

I've found I like one under my head, one between my knees and one to hug too - stops my top arm squashing my enormous knockers and stifling my breath. Quite like one behind my back too, but then there isn't room for DP smile

Hattieboomboom Thu 08-Jul-10 15:34:53

I get this too - just to the arm that's on top though - and always when I've had my hand up near my head. If I lower my arm down to my side I get the feeling back in it...

oldmum42 Thu 08-Jul-10 16:25:00

GET RID of all but one pillow under your head!!! I get this arm numbness, had it before preg and was advised by the guy next door (a consultant neuro-pyhisiologist ?spelling, but I mean, it's his job) to reduce to one pillow as I was, by using 2 pillows, trapping/compressing the nerve (arm numb, wakeing several times a night, pinky finger and next finger totally mumb). Reducing to one pillow took some getting used to, but reduced the occurance from several times, most nights, to just now and again, and usually not as badly.

Now pregnant, it came back worse, though still using one pillow only. One of those big, double length pillow/preg support things has really helped though - I lie with it between my knees, from my feet to my shoulder with one arm over the top of it - this stops the top-most shoulder "collapsing" down toward the other one, so reducing the pressure on the other shoulder. Now getting the numb arm only mildly, and not every night. And the pillow is also helping my pelvic girdle pain.

The guy next door sees several patients a year who have slept through the numbness, and woke up with a "dead arm" - the compressed nerve actually does die, and although it regrows, it takes about 6 months, and the are is unable to move properly until it does - a scary thought, so worth trying to sort it out - I really worry that this will happen to me, but apparently it's much more common in people who have had a drink or two before falling asleep (the alcohol means your body is less likely to respond to your arms numbness but changing your sleep position/waking you up). And as I'm pregnant - no booze.

oldmum42 Thu 08-Jul-10 16:32:03

typos galore - "they are" unable to move it not "the are is"!!
"by" changing sleep position, not "but"

I had this during pregnancy and, I'm afraid, afterwards too. Exactly the same as oldmum described. And I agree that anything you can do to avoid the top shoulder curling down towards the bottom one is good (good luck with that, btw).

God, sleeping discomfort is easily the suckiest part of being pregnant. You have my sympathies.

barkfox Thu 08-Jul-10 17:27:51

Aha - it may have been oldmum42 who recommended this, on a similar thread -

But 'hugging' a big pillow while on my side, to stop my top shoulder squishing downwards, has really helped me with this in the last week (sorry if it was you oldmum42, I should have gone back to the old thread and said as much!). I was waking with very numb hands and arms a few times a night. Managed to smack myself in the face turning over at one point, with a floppy 'dead' arm.

I'm now using a V shaped pillow www.johnlewis.com/10292/Style.aspx
under my head, which also provides a bit of arm support, but then on top of that, I'm hugging another pillow between my arms. (oh, and the small bolster in between my knees to keep my hips straight).

Turning over is a palaver, but arm numbness is a lot better. And that V shaped pillow is FAB, btw - v comfy for sitting up support, such that I can nap sitting upright a bit too.

tiredfeet Thu 08-Jul-10 22:40:49

ohh thank you so much for all the responses. I've been in a meeting all evening, only just got home, and it has been so hard trying to stay professional after last nights sleeplessness.

I will definitely try sticking to just one pillow. I was already hugging a squishy cushion as I suffer from a bit of a dodgy elbow anyway, but from the replies on here Ithink i will try a much firmer cushion to make my upper arm even more supported.

scary that it can actually cause long term arm numbness shock, luckily heavy sleeping due to alcohol is definitely not an issue at the minute!

jendaisy Fri 09-Jul-10 00:27:18

I would second the big long support pillow thing - I got mine in Mothercare and it's great, I put one end between my knees and rest my bump on the middle bit, the top is up near my chest and I kind of hug it which stops the numb arm problem. Kindest thing DP ever bought me!

tiredfeet Fri 09-Jul-10 10:18:46

thank you, had a better night last night, used just one pillow and made sure it supported my head, and found a firm pillow to hug and I do think these changes helped smile . Might look into one of those pregnancy support pillows though as currently seem to be surrounded by almost all the pillows in the house!

oldmum42 Fri 09-Jul-10 22:26:30

My long pillow's also from mothercare - about £30, but worth it as it works.

Yes, the trials of pregnancy are many! And another 3+ months of it to go.......

Clara1707 Fri 11-Apr-14 23:44:59

I usually sleep on my tummy. I am afraid to sleep on my tummy now. And now I am getting numb arms. Not sure what to do!

RebeccaCloud9 Sat 12-Apr-14 09:58:39

They really need to invent a bed with arm slots!

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