One of the top issues that I hear from my prenatal yoga students is the havoc that sleeping on the side does to them in pregnancy. From achy joints to back pain to lack of sleep, it seems as if the effects are endless. Although I may not be able to solve every problem, I am going offer you all a few solutions that may provide some relief from laying on the side. The number one thing to acknowledge is that this is all temporary. As much as it feels like these symptoms will go on forever and the discomfort is now a life-long event, it will all pass. In the meantime, here are some tips for relief.
Alternate Sides - Thankfully gone are the days where most doctors suggest only sleeping on the left side. Alternating sides may help to balance out the body during the pregnancy allowing for baby to have more space, and for you to get more rest. Alternating sides does not just mean while sleeping either. During the day check to see if you favor a side when sitting and standing. One approach here is to alternate crossing the leg under a table or to sit without crossing the legs. Try to keep the hips level when sitting and the feet level when standing so that weight is more evenly distributed.
Support Your Back & Hips - There are a number of product on the market listed as "pregnancy pillows" that are designed to help support the pregnant body during sleep. Some are great, some are not so great and all are very personal to you. In a pinch or if you are just not interested in purchasing yet another item. you can take throw pillows or extra pillows to contour to you as you sleep. Pillows around the hips, lower back, and between the legs close the knees and ankles can be helpful. These keep the hips stacked and supported which may help to alleviate aches and pains.
Side-Body Stretches - A few extra stretches when you wake up in the morning or even more importantly before you lay down in bed for the night could help to alleviate tension in the muscles and connective tissue. Sit on the floor cross-legged or on a hard chair. Reach one arm up and tip your body in the opposite direction getting a stretch along the arm, side and hip. Try the other side. From here, twist and look to one side for 3 long breaths, then the other side for 3 long breaths. Stand up to find a wall. Face the wall so that your side is at the wall and you are looking down the wall. Cross your outside leg over the leg closest the wall and reach the arm that is furthest away from the wall up and over your head. Try the other side. Finish with a couple of cat/cows and hip circles.
Consistency - As with most things consistency is key. Try the stretches, pillows or alternating sides every day and see how this works to help relieve aches and pains. A weekly yoga class either in studio or online can also be very helpful.
I hope this helps you find some relief! Let me know in the comments!
Hi, I'm Valerie Kacian! I am a mom of three and a yoga teacher. I am also a writer who doesn't write enough. This is my way of giving you the answers you are looking for and also to keep in touch with my first baby, writing.