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sleeping on your back when pregnant

(22 Posts)
hoxtonchick Fri 21-Jan-05 21:15:26

i'm almost 16 weeks pregnant now, with my second. i seem to remember reading in one of my many pregnancy books last time (all unopened this time...) that you shouldn't sleep on your back from about now onwards. is this true? i'm an inveterate back sleeper, though will try very hard not to if it's bad for the baby, but just wondered what others thought.

Fran1 Fri 21-Jan-05 21:17:31

It is true, i think its something to do with the organs that can get squashed!! nice!

I didn't manage to avoid sleeping on back though i start off on my side, but always roll onto back in my sleep so not sure how you can avoid it.

jabberwocky Fri 21-Jan-05 21:19:14

It has to do with decreasing the blood flow/oxygen level because of the weight of the baby pressing against a main artery. Can't remember exactly when baby is big enough that it makes a difference though. I believe left side sleeping is what's recommended after the critical point. Hopefully, someone will come along with the specifics for you.

mrsflowerpot Fri 21-Jan-05 21:19:25

There was a thread a few days ago asking if sleeping on your front was out of bounds too! Not sure how we're supposed to sleep, bat-style hanging from the ceiling perhaps...

I think there is something about sleeping on your left hand side because of the blood flow (as I recall from last time, but that's 4 years ago).

I go to sleep on my side, but often wake up finding I've slept on my back. Not sure at this stage (I'm 19 weeks) that I could do much about what position I move into while I'm sleeping.

charleypops Fri 21-Jan-05 21:23:14

I think it's because if you sleep on your back, the extra weight presses on the vena cava (a major vein), or the aorta or some such which reduces blood supply a bit to the placenta.

I also think you're supposed to sleep on your left side because the way your organs are situated makes the blood flow freer (sp?)

I'm 19 weeks and really don't think you need to worry too much yet, just give yourself time to get into the habit - you can't be that big yet?

charleypops Fri 21-Jan-05 21:24:49

oops! crossed posts.

I guess those wedge shaped maternity pillows would help keep us on our sides?

winnie Fri 21-Jan-05 21:31:06

Goodness, I've never heard of this. When pregnant I always slept on my back propped up on a huge amount of pillows, legs crossed at ankles, knees splayed. Frankly I wouldn't worry about it too much if you are uncomfortable you will move want to move.

nailpolish Fri 21-Jan-05 21:33:52

charleypops is right, the baby can push on the aorta (main artery taking blood frm the heart around the body) and reduce the flow to major organs and the placenta, therefore reducing oxygen supply.

saying that, i slept on my back sometimes

helsi Fri 21-Jan-05 21:37:30

If you are anything like me as you getter bigger you will be soooo uncomfortable on your back that you will automattically move onto your side anyway. I was huge and coule not sleep opn my back at all. I slept on my side with pillows between my knees.

Sweet dreams....

wheresmyfroggy Fri 21-Jan-05 21:41:41

I found towards the end that sleeping was easiest sat up on my nursing chair Am currently 29 weeks and am still rolling onto my back in the night

dancer77 Fri 21-Jan-05 22:07:53

it is true about the oxygen supply whilst laying on your back. It also used to make me fel sick after a crtain point but can't remmber how man weeks it was that that that started

fruitful Fri 21-Jan-05 22:16:46

After a certain point (can't remember when, sorry) lying on my back made me feel dizzy and gave me pins and needles in my hands. So switching to sleeping on my side was easy at that point - if I roll back in my sleep, I wake up...

OldieMum Fri 21-Jan-05 22:22:58

Congratulations on your pregnancy, hoxtonchick. I have to sleep on my back because I have a problem with my neck. I slept on my back all the way through pregnancy and don't remember seeing any advice not to do so.

Caligula Fri 21-Jan-05 22:24:03

You're not supposed to because if you then try and get up quickly, you'll faint, because of the blood pressure thing, but the trick is to avoid getting up quickly. Just make sure you remember to turn over for 10 minutes if you do find you've been sleeping on your back, but tbh I always found that there was nothing I could do about it - I didn't know I was sleeping on my back, so except for once when I did faint because I got up too quickly, I always turned over for a while to get the blood pressure back to normal. Good excuse for an extra few minutes in bed!

gingernut Fri 21-Jan-05 22:32:21

hoxtonchick, I think the advice is not to sleep on your back after about 30 weeks. I found I couldn't lie on my back in the later stages because I became dizzy, so that was that. Like helsi, I could only get comfortable on my side (in fact, on the `recommended' left side, despite the fact I usually sleep on my right side when not pg).

Hope the pg goes well, BTW. You have diabetes don't you? Hope all is well with that side of things.

lockets Fri 21-Jan-05 22:32:37

Message withdrawn

bakedpotato Fri 21-Jan-05 22:38:46

i'm 38 wks and still occasionally wake up on my back. it's not particularly comfy -- but then, what is at this stage? according to MW, towards the end it's useful to stay off back/on left side as a way of encouraging baby to to lie in anterior position

Caligula Fri 21-Jan-05 22:38:56

Gwenick Fri 21-Jan-05 23:10:17

I have to be honest - I completely ignored that piece of advice - honestly of all the millions of women that are pg each year, who deliver 'at term' and have fit and healthy babies - do you really think that most of them make sure they're sleeping on the right side, or avoid their backs/tummy's whatevers I doubt it.

and besides - once you're asleep how are you supposed to know how you're sleeping - going to set the alarm clock for every 1/2hr to wake up and check???

dancer77 Fri 21-Jan-05 23:19:54

I didn't lay on my back was because I physically couldn't. I think it was from about 6 months it started to make me feel sick and dizzy. As for laying on my tummy no chance, far too big a bump. That was the worst bit as I always sleep on my tummy and so could never get comfy

hoxtonchick Wed 02-Feb-05 21:17:32

thanks for all your replies. i'm 17 weeks now. saw my obstetrician today who said it's absolutely fine for another 10 weeks or so. hooray. i'm already fed up of sleeping on my side....

moondog Wed 02-Feb-05 21:30:12

This has cracked me up!
Hope no prospective mothers are reading-horror stories are enough to put anyone off and that's even before you start thinking of how that baby is going to come out!

I couldn't have slept on my back after about 25 weeks even if I'd wanted to! Would have fainted.

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