Overcoming 9 Pregnancy Sleep Troubles

Second Trimester

4. Sleep Stealer: You can't settle in. "This is the stage where many women have a difficult time getting comfortable. You're too big to sleep on your stomach, but you're told to avoid sleeping on your back," says Dr. Flood-Shaffer. When you lie on your back, the weight of the uterus can compress the inferior vena cava, the vein that transports blood from your lower body to your heart. To compensate, your body works harder to pump blood to your heart; as a result, your blood pressure increases and the blood flow to the uterus slows down.

This isn't good for you or the baby, which is why doctors recommend sleeping on your left side. What's the benefit? When you sleep this way your uterus pushes forward (and thus alleviates pressure on your heart), ensuring that your baby will get plenty of blood and oxygen through the night.

Shut-Eye Solution: You don't have to sleep entirely on your side; with the help of a pillow, you can trick yourself into thinking you're sleeping in your favorite old position. While on your back, place a pillow underneath your right hip, says Dr. Flood-Shaffer, so your uterus is tilted but your upper chest and back are flat. This ensures proper blood flow and will help you doze off.

5. Sleep Stealer: Heartburn. You don't need to eat an Italian sub at warp speed to have heartburn while pregnant -- being pregnant is enough. And again, thank your growing uterus, which compresses the stomach and sends its contents shooting toward the esophagus -- ergo, reflux.

Shut-Eye Solution: Propping your upper body with pillows can prevent acid from moving upward. You should also avoid carbonated drinks, eating before bedtime, and indulging in big meals, even if your cravings tell you otherwise. If you take all these precautions and you still experience heartburn, then you might want to seek some relief from an over-the-counter product. "At this point in pregnancy, you can use Tagamet, Prilosec, antacids, or Mylanta to ease discomfort," says Dr. Flood-Shaffer. But to be on the safe side, contact your ob-gyn to get her go-ahead.

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