Slumber Secrets

Techniques that can safely help you sleep as your belly grows.


1. Let's talk pillows. Some side sleepers can get comfortable simply by putting a regular bed pillow between their knees or by using a wedge-shaped pillow under their belly.

To support both your back and belly, opt for a full-length body pillow or sandwich your growing body between a specialty maternity pillow; one option is designed to support your back and cradle your belly with two wedge pillows connected by Velcro.

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2. Use his-and-her blankets. Once you've settled into position with your pillows, rolling over could mean your partner is left out in the cold. His-and-her blankets could solve the problem, Frieder says. "Pregnant women run hot because of their hormones," he explains. "They probably want the room cooler than their mate does." If the couple uses separate blankets, his can be heavier and hers can be lighter. Plus, when she changes positions, he won't be disturbed.

3. Stick with safe sleep aids. While pregnant, avoid sleep medications, including herbal ones. "Herbal remedies shouldn't be considered any safer than prescription drugs," says Yan-Go. "And they could be worse because they haven't been studied or regulated." This includes such often-used remedies as melatonin, valerian and kava kava. Safe sleep aids include chamomile tea and foods containing tryptophan, such as turkey, milk and bananas.

4. Relax about back sleeping. For years, pregnant women have been warned not to sleep on their back because this position can cause the enlarged uterus to compress major blood vessels, reducing blood supply to the fetus. However, most pregnant women find that lying on their back in their last trimester isn't very comfortable, and they will automatically adjust their position, says Lisa Bartholomew, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Hawaii Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"The mom will be uncomfortable long before the baby is affected and will naturally change position," she explains. Additionally, if you become dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous when you lie on your back, simply tilting your body to one side should alleviate those symptoms.

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