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  • Why Are Pregnant Women Told To Sleep On Their Left Side? An Ob-Gyn Answers

    It is the "ideal scenario" during pregnancy, according to experts.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Why Are Pregnant Women Told To Sleep On Their Left Side? An Ob-Gyn Answers
PHOTO BY AndreyPopov/iStock
  • A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy, but it’s easier said than done for women whose baby bumps are growing. To get better sleep, most experts recommend lying on your left side, but what exactly is the reason behind this?

    Sleeping on your left side: The optimum position?

    On the third episode of SmartParenting.com.ph’s How Po? titled “The New Normal In Pregnancy And Childbirth (Part Two),” Dr. Maynila Domingo, an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in maternal fetal medicine at Manila Medical Center, explains why sleeping on your left side is the “ideal scenario” during pregnancy.

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    “Imagine mo, malaki kasi ‘yung matres. Naiipit niya ‘yung ugat from the heart na mag-su-supply ng dugo [sa katawan]. Ang theory is, if we lie on our sides, specifically on the left, ginagandahan natin ‘yung daloy [ng dugo] sa buong katawan and therefore, daloy ng dugo sa matres, daloy ng dugo at oxygen kay baby,” she says.

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    Positioning yourself on your left side also takes the pressure off your liver and kidneys. This can improve kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands, according to What To Expect.

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    So should I sleep on my left side all the time?

    While lying down in this position is recommended, moms should still look for a sleeping position where they are most comfortable, according to Dr. Domingo.

    “Dahil nabasa nila na mas maganda ang daloy ng dugo kapag naka-left side, gusto nilang naka-left side [parati]. Nine months ka bang hihiga sa left side mo? Maiipitan ka ng ugat, magkakaroon ka ng strain,” Dr. Domingo says.

    “Hanap ka rin ng position na kumportable ka. Basta hindi flat na flat, kahit naka-incline ng onti,” she adds.

    If you’re comfortable in a side-lying position, you can add additional support for your body. “Pwede mong lagyan ng support dun sa ilalim ng tiyan mo. Tapos, even between the knees, you can put a small pillow para hindi lahat ng pressure nandun lang sa isang side ng katawan mo,” shares Dr. Domingo. “Tapos kahit sa kanan ka bumaling, ok lang din ‘yun. In a way, gumaganda pa rin naman ‘yung daloy ng dugo kay baby.”

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    Ros Padua, a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator, a certified birth doula under Doulas of North America, and a breastfeeding mother and counselor also recommends shifting positions as you sleep at night. “In an 8-hour sleeping period, 3 hours on the left, 3 hours on the right,” she advises during our How Po live webinar.

    She adds, “’Diba usually ang mga buntis, tatayo tayo kasi nagpupunta tayo ng restroom? Then lumipat din tayo [ng sleeping position]. Huwag mag-fixate dun sa left lang. Hanapin natin ‘yung comfort natin.”

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    At the end of the day, Dr. Domingo emphasizes that pregnant women should sleep in the position where they are most comfortable. “Eto ang nangyayari kapag buntis ang babae. ‘Yung mga joints ninyo, affected siya ng hormones. Minsan, it may be swollen kaya feeling mo para kang may arthritis. ‘Yung buto sa likod, nagla-lax ‘yan, kaya ‘yung panglakad nila ay kakaiba at nagcocomplain sila ng back pain. Tapos ‘yung malaking-malaking matres, nagbabago ‘yung center of gravity. Kung dati straight ka, naka-liyad ka na,” she says. “All of that, strenuous yun for your body. So pwedeng humanap ng magandang position for you. Side lying is ok, left or right.”

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    If you’re pregnant and have questions on pregnancy and childbirth during the pandemic, you can watch the second episode of our How Po? live webinars below:

    Get exclusive access to Smart Parenting’s online webinars, expert talks, and lives! Register here and be the first to know about Smart Parenting Events.

    Click here to know more about the different sleeping positions during pregnancy.

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