Rest during pregnancy: 7 reasons to choose the left side

Rest during pregnancy: 7 reasons to choose the left side

Rest during pregnancy: 7 reasons to choose the left side

Among the advice from gynecology and obstetrics experts to be adopted during the pregnancy period , learning to sleep on the left side is certainly one of the most useful. This position, in fact, brings numerous benefits to both the future mother and the baby : first of all, better blood circulation for both, with all the consequent benefits, but not only that. In fact, during the entire period of gestation, the woman's body is subjected to continuous change and is completely focused on the growth and development of the fetus in a constant exchange of energies, distributing and requesting new ones.

Every pregnancy is unique and special

Pregnancy is a unique and subjective experience for every woman. Some feel tired right from the start, others don't feel it until close to giving birth. However, adequate rest is very important: it helps the growth of the fetus, allows you to manage the physical and hormonal changes typical of pregnancy, reduces stress and anxiety, regulates blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. In the third trimester, when the fetus is growing the most and the body is undergoing maximum transformation, sleep is invaluable. Resting on the left side has numerous benefits for the future mother and baby because it improves their physical well-being and relieves the typical discomfort of pregnancy.


1- Resting on your left side during pregnancy improves blood circulation, prevents and reduces swelling of the legs and feet

During pregnancy the heart works at a much faster rate to support the health of the mother and the growth of the fetus. Resting on the left side reduces pressure on the inferior vena cava, preventing swelling in the lower limbs and ensuring a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. In this way, the cardiovascular well-being of the pregnant woman and optimal growth of the unborn child are guaranteed.


2- Promotes digestion and prevents gastroesophageal reflux

Sleeping on your left side during pregnancy promotes digestion and prevents gastroesophageal reflux. The pressure of the pregnant uterus can slow gastric emptying, causing bloating and heartburn. The position on the left side, however, helps the regular transit of food towards the intestine. Furthermore, thanks to the force of gravity, the stomach tends to move downwards on that side, resulting in less pressure on the cardia, the muscle that prevents the reflux of gastric acids. This results in better digestion, absorption of nutrients and reduction of acid reflux which causes the night-time heartburn typical of pregnancy.

3- Resting on your left side during pregnancy decreases pressure on the bladder

The bladder, during pregnancy, is often irritated by the uterus which expands with each physiological growth of the baby. By resting on the left side, the position reduces the pressure on it which, being less irritated, can empty itself more completely , significantly reducing the risk of frequent urinary tract infections during pregnancy . Furthermore, it helps reduce the frequency of visits to the bathroom during the night allowing you to sleep better without too many awakenings.

4- Reduces pressure on the kidneys

The kidneys benefit from the position because they increase the ability to eliminate accumulated fluids. The kidneys , not burdened by the pressure of the uterus, can work more effectively to filter metabolic waste and eliminate accumulated fluids through urine. Thanks to the force of gravity, the kidneys receive better blood supply when the expectant mother sleeps on her left side.

5- Reduces pressure on the liver

The volume of the liver during pregnancy increases by 20-50% to cope with the increased metabolic needs. The organ also experiences pressure from the uterus, especially in the last trimester. Sleeping on your left side relieves stress on the liver, which is a crucial organ for the health of mother and baby . In fact, it is responsible for synthesizing proteins, producing bile for digestion, storing nutrients and minerals, neutralizing toxins and generating red blood cells - essential functions for the health of the mother and baby.

6- Resting on your left side during pregnancy relaxes your back

During pregnancy, the back can easily ache due to weight gain, the shift of the center of gravity forward and incorrect postures assumed to compensate for the belly. Learning to sleep on your left side is very useful: this position in fact reduces pressure on the back and hips , allowing the spine to relax thanks to less pressure and stretching of the paravertebral muscles and the back to relax.


7- Prepare the mother for a simpler natural birth.

Sleeping on the left side and using a pregnancy pillow allows the woman to rest better and arrive at childbirth less tired and with greater pain tolerance. Additionally, this position prevents pinching of nerves and vessels in the pelvis, keeping it more mobile to flex better during labor. Sleeping on the left side, then, helps the correct positioning of the fetus with the head downwards, ideal for a shorter and less painful birth.

A pillow that accompanies you during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding pillows are excellent support and can really make a difference in helping you sleep on your left side and ensuring rest and peaceful nights . in fact, they allow you to adapt to the shape of the body during pregnancy by providing support to critical points such as forearms, elbows, belly, hips, knees and ankles. In this way the spine remains in a neutral position, relieving contractures and muscle tension, improving relaxation and the quality of sleep. Furthermore, some pillows, such as the Nuvita pregnancy pillow for example, have adjustable back support to support the lumbar part at the right height and help maintain a stable and comfortable position on the left side throughout the night.

The recommendation for pregnant women to sleep on their left side comes from both authoritative international medical sources and Italian scientific societies, hospitals and medical sites. The medical community agrees in promoting this simple measure that can make a positive difference for pregnancy.

Here is the list of the most important sources of information:

- In the United States, The Mayo Clinic, one of the most renowned medical organizations in the world, recommends this sleeping position to pregnant women, as it can improve blood circulation and reduce the pressure placed on the vena cava and abdominal aorta by the pregnant uterus.

- the American Pregnancy Association reports that the left lateral position favors blood flow towards the placenta and kidneys.

- In Italy, the Italian Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SIGO) advises on its website that pregnant women preferably lie down on their left side to improve maternal-placental circulation.

- The Niguarda Hospital in Milan , in a dedicated article, explains that this position guarantees the best supply of oxygenated blood to the fetus.

- The Veronesi Foundation website cites several scientific works that demonstrate the benefits for the fetus of the maternal left lateral position during sleep.


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