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How to sleep comfortably during pregnancy

How to sleep comfortably during pregnancy

I'm so uncomfortable at night. What can I do?

In early pregnancy, most women find that any sleeping position will do. But at about seven months, finding a comfortable arrangement that supports a big belly gets tricky. (Comfort aside, the safest position for sleep in late pregnancy is on your left side.) Of course, even when you do find a comfortable position, you're still subject to being awakened by a few well-placed abdominal kicks from your baby, or by any number of other things, from queasiness to leg cramps. Though you can't ask Junior to cool it just yet, a specialty pillow might provide some relief. Here are some options:

• Maternity pillow. This is actually two pillows, attached with fabric and adjustable Velcro tabs, that provide simultaneous support in front and in back. You can also use one of the pillows on your belly as a prop for a book. Available in pregnancy specialty stores and Web sites (like the BabyCenter Store) and through catalogs.

• Pregnancy wedge. This wedge-shaped pillow supports your belly when you lie on your side. You can also use it to prop yourself up to a semi-recline when you're lying on your back. Available in the BabyCenter Store and most department stores.

• Full-length body pillow. These pillows are at least five feet long and are designed to support the back and cradle the belly. Available in the BabyCenter Store and most department stores.

• Sleeping Bean. You wrap your body around this column-shaped pillow, which then supports your belly and your back. It's also good for nursing support after the baby arrives, and can be used as a bolster or bumper to protect your baby in his crib. Available from Bean Products (800/726-8365) for $49 to $59.

FYI: If you don't want to spend extra money on special pillows, just use regular ones. Many women find that tucking a pillow between their legs near the knees makes them more comfortable.

And if all else fails, find someplace else to sleep. Some women find it easier to nod off in an armchair or chaise lounge.

Which sleeping position is best?

The best sleeping position for a pregnant woman after midpregnancy is on her left side. This position ensures unobstructed blood flow through the body because the major blood vessels — the aorta, which delivers blood from your heart to the other organs, and the vena cava, the vein that returns blood to your heart from the lower extremities — are slightly to the right of the center of your back. Of course, we all shift position many times during the night, so don't worry if you wake to find yourself flat on your back — but do turn back on your side.

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