Women have been advised to be mindful of their sleep position during pregnancy and to avoid sleeping on their stomach or back to avoid complications. According to an Abuja-based gynaecologist, Dr. Philips Ekpe, it is important for women to avoid any sleep position that would make the uterus compress either on the blood vessel or on the bladder, especially when the pregnancy is advanced. The former Secretary-General of the Nigerian Medical Association, said the best sleeping position is to lie on any of the sides.
“The average weight of a baby is 2. 5kg to about 4kg. So, in the first trimester, the pregnancy is not that heavy. By the second and third trimesters, the pregnancy becomes heavy. “Now, the veins that supply blood to the vital organs like the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, and the baby itself are usually lying on top of the spine. “If the woman lies on her back, the uterus itself with the baby lying inside is now like a weight that will compress the blood vessels and prevent blood supply to those vital organs and even to the baby, which can lead to collapse of the veins.
To prevent that, they should lie on their side.” The gynaecologist said pregnant women should also avoid sleeping facing up. This, he said, is because the woman might be having a fainting attack owing to the collapse of major veins supplying blood to the heart and brain. He explained, “When a woman is pregnant, sleeping position is important considering the placement of the blood vessels on the spines at the back. “The relationship of the blood vessels to the spines is quite close to the back. Now, the vein that returns blood to the heart and the brain is just already lined on that spine while the artery is also beside it. “When a woman is pregnant, the womb is enlarged and because of the size of the womb, if the woman lies on her back, that womb presses on those blood vessels. “And the one it can press more on is the vein and the vein can collapse.
The one that returns blood to the brain and the heart can collapse easily.” Ekpe said poor blood supply to the heart and brain makes the woman dizzy, sweaty, and feel like vomiting. He advised pregnant women in their second and third trimesters to avoid sleeping facing up. According to an online portal, Medical NewsToday, many women find themselves wondering how best to sleep when pregnant. “Sleep issues are common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, when finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging. “Some pregnant women may also worry that certain body positions might affect their health or that of the fetus.
As a woman reaches the second and third trimesters, it is ideal to sleep on the left side. “A National Sleep Foundation survey Trusted Source found that 78 per cent of women have more trouble sleeping when pregnant, with 15 per cent experiencing restless leg syndrome during the third trimester”, the portal stated.