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To sleep on my back when pregnant?

(33 Posts)
Snowberry86 Thu 04-Aug-16 08:41:25

I know I'm not meant to sleep on my back but I'm exhausted and it's the only position i can get comfy in.

As soon as I'm on my side baby starts going mad with kicking and fidgeting as if I've reduced their space and they don't like it.

I'm only getting 3/4 hours sleep a night at the minute and I can't cope with other 12 weeks of this! I've tried numerous pillow options but nothing helps and I need sleep.

MatildaTheCat Thu 04-Aug-16 08:50:24

Has any hcp actually told you to not sleep on your back or is this 'advice' you have gained elsewhere?

In the very late stages of pregnancy lying flat on your back can cause the weight of your uterus to compress your major vessels which can make you feel faint. In labour it is ill advised as it can reduce blood flow to the baby at a time when the contractions are already reducing flow to the placenta.

So relax and sleep, you will find that you might find it uncomfortable soon. One small pillow wedged under your left hip is all that's required to shift the weight if you are still worried.

Snowberry86 Thu 04-Aug-16 08:53:12

It is just general advice that in the 3rd trimester you shouldn't sleep on your back.

I am seeing a physio today for SPD and so will ask them whether it is likely to be irritating my back more. I find it very difficult to turn over in bed due to the pain in my pelvis but I can only bare a few minutes on my side before baby feels like he/she is trying to climb out through my stomach.

scarednoob Thu 04-Aug-16 08:56:01

I went on holiday at about 22 weeks pregnant with a friend who was 24 weeks pregnant. I hid in the shade, wrestled to get comfortable on my side on the sun lounger, wouldn't even risk lying on my back for an hour when I had a facial, so it had to be a manicure instead, and hardly ate any of the delicious tapas.

my friend sunbathed flat on her back, had the occasional glass of fizz, ate goats cheese, ate cured meat, generally chilled out.

both babies absolutely fine. guess what i'll be doing if we ever have another and go on holiday - relaxing more!! in all honesty, I think your body would tell you if it was a problem, and the best thing for the baby is that you get some decent rest.

Topseyt Thu 04-Aug-16 09:00:06

I slept in a sitting position quite a lot when pregnant as I just couldn't get comfortable at all lying down.

I remember midwives telling me not to sleep on my back as the weight of the baby in the later stages of pregnancy puts pressure on the abdominal aorta, reducing or slowing its oxygen supply.

My youngest is 14 now though, so I don't know whether that advice has changed in the meantime.

EleanorofCastile Thu 04-Aug-16 09:11:53

This is the one thing that I'd have appreciated a bit more clear advice on!

No HCP mentioned this to me, I've only read about "the risks" of lying on your back on mumsnet! I remembered to ask my midwife at 16 weeks and she said if it was causing any problems I'd feel faint due to pressure of uterus of blood vessels, and would probably be fine for a good few more weeks. I'm now 30 weeks and sort of given up worrying about it as a I often wake up having shifted in the night and have been lying on my back for god knows how long - but probably several hours.

I also had a facial at 25 weeks and the therapist did take a look at my bump and asked if I'd be ok to lie on my back for an hour - so is this something that everyone is worrying about except me (which of course then makes me worry!)?

Matilda, your advice sounds the same as my midwife. I have actually already been trying that pillow wedge thing! I forgot to ask about this at my last appointment.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 04-Aug-16 09:25:30

Scarednoob, that is terrible advice. Your friend is lucky. This advice isn't made up for the fun of it. I love how some people think an example of one person somehow outweighs studies of thousands. Some people can smoke their whole lives and not get cancer. Do you think that means all the advice about smoking is just there to inconvenience you?

OP, definitely talk to an obstetrician. I was told by mine that I'd actually be better off sleeping on my belly than my back. The babies are well protected in there but that blood vessel will feel the weight if you're on your back. I hope the physio can give you some ideas about sleeping positions.

You have my complete sympathy. I'm heavily pregnant with twins and haven't been allowed on my back since 16 weeks. And if it's not painful legs waking me up it's pregnancy insomnia. Being pregnant is lame sometimes.

Sooverthis Thu 04-Aug-16 09:34:51

I taught antenatal fitness classes and during the training we were told to ask clients to not lie on their back on a hard floor or surface, a bed was fine as the curve of the spine is accommodated by the flat surface and the abdominal aorta won't be compromised.

EleanorofCastile Thu 04-Aug-16 10:41:49

NHS advice does not suggest sleeping on your back is dangerous - this is from NHS choices:

"Sleep however you feel comfortable. Lying on your back after around 16 weeks of pregnancy can be uncomfortable, and later on can also mean that your womb presses on one of the main blood vessels. This can make you feel faint.
Sleeping on your side might be more comfortable. You can try supporting your bump with pillows, and putting a pillow between your knees."

I'm going to speak to my consultant and midwife about this again but surely thousands of people sleep on their backs because no one has told them not to, and official NHS guidance does not suggest this is necessary. Currently, it is not like the risk of eating certain foods/listeriosis in pregnancy which all HCPs/ official advice is clear on

LuckySantangelo1 Thu 04-Aug-16 10:48:15

The advice I was given by my GP was to only avoid lying on my back if it made me feel faint, which it didn't.

iwasjustabouttosaythat that's a bit of an overreaction. Her friend wasn't 'lucky'. The risk of anything adverse happening during pregnancy from goats cheese/cured meat/1 glass of wine is extremely small & it's silly to suggest otherwise.

LuckySantangelo1 Thu 04-Aug-16 10:50:05

And in fact there's no risk from goats cheese if its pasturised and not the mould covered type. Or if it's cooked.

abigwideworld Thu 04-Aug-16 10:55:20

I'm 28 weeks and can't lie on my back without feeling like there's a dead weight there, it's really uncomfortable. Up until a few weeks ago I always woke up on my back though. I'd persevere with pillows/different sleeping positions and ask your physio about it. But obviously it's up to you how you want to sleep! I've never had an actual midwife tell me it's bad, just pregnancy app etc.

user1468847082 Thu 04-Aug-16 10:57:03

It's all about reducing the flow of blood when you lie on your back apparently, the weight of your uterus cuts off the flow to a degree so I believe it's not really a good idea. When I was pregnant I read that you get the maximum blood flow sleeping on your left hand side and after that I couldn't bring myself to sleep any other way.

Having said that, sleep is so important. Have you tried a full body pillow? I found it amazing, I would have loved to have carried on sleeping with mine but hubby said no lol!

Good luck to you with your baby x

MiddleClassProblem Thu 04-Aug-16 10:58:37

I had spd and from about 5 months I slept propped up on a 7 pillow mountain with one more pillow under my feet.

user1468847082 Thu 04-Aug-16 11:00:19

I used one of these, it was awesome www.amazon.co.uk/Chicco-Total-Body-Pillow-Silverleaf/dp/B00H3AINJ0/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470304758&sr=8-4&keywords=boppy+pillow

Dutchcourage Thu 04-Aug-16 11:00:48

snow snap!! I've 12 weeks left to go and can't cope! I have to sleep sitting up as I feel my bump is squashing me.

My back is killing in any position and constantly have a hot water bottle stuck to it :-(

Dutchcourage Thu 04-Aug-16 11:02:10

user I'm going to order that now

bitemyshinymetalass Thu 04-Aug-16 11:03:43

I know I'm not meant to sleep on my back

This is such rubbish. You're meant to sleep however you bloody well want to.

DoubleCarrick Thu 04-Aug-16 11:03:50

All the reading I've done suggests that the blood supply/oxygen supply to the baby is restricted when you lay on your back. I asked my midwife last week whether I had to sleep on my left hand side and she said not to worry and just to sleep how I'm comfortable

Lesley1980 Thu 04-Aug-16 11:06:05

I slept in my back until it was uncomfortable. With both pregnancies this was fine until 30+ weeks.

bitemyshinymetalass Thu 04-Aug-16 11:06:38

Scarednoob, that is terrible advice. Your friend is lucky. This advice isn't made up for the fun of it. I love how some people think an example of one person somehow outweighs studies of thousands

Wrong wrong wrong. At least half of the food advice is made up out of thin air. There are no studies of thousands, and some risks are so vastly overstated as to make nonsense of them.

bitemyshinymetalass Thu 04-Aug-16 11:08:45

All the reading I've done suggests that the blood supply/oxygen supply to the baby is restricted when you lay on your back

Never mind the baby books, does this sound logical to anyone? That pregnant women lying on their backs damages foetus's? So before the internet and baby books, every woman since the dawn of time was unknowingly causing problems evyer time they lay down?
Nah.

DrWhy Thu 04-Aug-16 11:09:07

I think it depends how you feel, try it when you are awake and make sure it doesn't make you feel faint. I fortunately sleep on my side anyway (it does drive the baby a bit mental but usually I can eventually sleep anyway), however I went for a 34 week ultrasound last week and she had to give up with part of the scan as laying on my back was making me feel so faint and sick, I had to roll onto my side a couple of times not to pass out. A bed would definitely be softer but for me personally at this stage (only 5 weeks to go now) I'd be afraid that if I went to sleep on my back I'd then pass out without me or DH being aware of it - scary!

SuperBoppy Thu 04-Aug-16 12:08:55

Dutchcourage they are also really useful as support when feeding your baby once you've had it. Those little buggers get heavy after a bit lol

ButtMuncher Thu 04-Aug-16 12:14:13

Ah, the myths and conflicting information surrounding pregnancy isn't it a joy grin

I've been told I should be sleeping on my left hand side to better "oxygenate" baby - problem is, whenever I do sleep on the left, baby hates it so much (his feet have been firmly comfortable there since week 16 pretty much) that he kicks me relentlessly until I move. I've tried everything - the only comfortable sleeping position is to be on my right hand side, slightly onto my back.

I had to stop worrying about it - it's a toss up of not sleeping = not good position to provide for baby but in line with a 'new' arbitrary guideline or getting sleep, feeling less fucking awful and saying to hell with the guideline.

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