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Sleeping on My Back
By Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM
Q. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant. I love to sleep on my back! I think I am spending more time trying to consciously remember to sleep on my side that I am not sleeping at all! When I do sleep on my side, I wake up with sore ears!!! Could you please explain why sleeping on your back is a NO NO. And why I have read that if I put a small pillow under one hip I am ok? Is that true? How small is small? Which hip?
A. Sleeping flat on your back causes the pregnant uterus to compress the large veins and arteries that provide blood flow to and from the uterus, and can decrease the blood flow (hence the oxygen supply) to the baby. This is not a good thing!
Take a small towel, like a hand towel, and fold it in half the long way, then in thirds, and put it under either hip. That's just enough to shift the uterus to one side or the other, off the big blood vessels which run along the spine. That should do it and hopefully you'll get some sleep.
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