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Why is it recommended to the pregnant woman to lie on the left side?

One of the most listened to medical recommendations during pregnancy is to lie on the left side . But what exactly is this advice due to? Is it harmful to lie down in another way? We will tell you!

Why is it advisable to sleep on the left side

Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant women sleep on the left side, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is mainly due to two reasons:

  • On the right side is located the vena cava, the largest vein in the body through which a significant flow of blood circulates. By lying on the left side, we avoid the pressure of the body’s weight on this vein, favoring circulation to the heart and allowing a greater blood supply to the placenta and uterus.

  • In addition, on the right side of the abdomen is the liver, so sleeping on the left side helps prevent the uterus from resting on that large organ.

Therefore, it is best to lie in bed on the left side, keeping the shoulders and hips in the same direction and angle, to keep the muscles of the spine relaxed and thus avoid discomfort and pain in the lower back and back. .

On the other hand, lying on the left side during pregnancy would also help prevent or improve symptoms in case of low blood pressure, relieve headaches or headaches, reduce swelling and prevent varicose veins, as well as to improve symptoms of heartburn. and an upset stomach.

But, what happens if sleeping I lie on the right side or on my back?

But maintaining the same posture throughout the night when we are sleeping is difficult , especially in the final stretch of pregnancy, where it becomes very difficult to rest for several hours in a row without the discomfort or discomfort of the gut waking us up.

Therefore, if you are pregnant, you may wonder what would happen if while you sleep you change your posture and lie on your back or on the right side: “Could it be harmful to my health and that of my baby?”

The first thing you should try is not to get obsessed , because although the most recommended thing is to lie on the left side, nothing will happen if for a short period of time you lie on your back. And we say “short period of time” because this position is most likely so uncomfortable in the final stretch of pregnancy, that you end up turning yourself.

But just as we have mentioned the benefits of sleeping on the left side over the right, it is also important to keep in mind that lying on your back during the third trimester of pregnancy puts all the weight of the uterus on the back, intestines and the inferior vena cava, intensifying back pain, constipation, hemorrhoids and edema.

In addition to these discomforts, several studies have also suggested that sleeping on the back or on the right side could affect the baby .

Thus, an investigation carried out by the University of Manchester in 2017 found a relationship between late fetal death and maternal rest on the back from the 28th week of gestation. This same study indicated that the best thing for the fetus was for the mother to rest on the left side.

For its part, another similar study carried out by the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, related a lower fetal oxygen supply when women lay on their back or on the right side, compared to those who did it on their side left. According to the researchers, if the baby is healthy and strong, this reduction in oxygen would not be important, but if it presents problems of any kind, it could have consequences.


However, a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in 2019 comes to calm this constant concern of pregnant women when they rest , since it has determined that sleeping on the back or on the right side does not seem to increase the risk of fetal death, nor would it influence the size of the baby at birth or cause high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Even so, the researchers want to make it clear that their study only evaluated the mother’s posture during sleep up to 30 weeks of pregnancy, so they do not offer information on whether sleeping on the back or on the right side at the end of the pregnancy could increase the risk of complications.

For all this, sleeping on the left side in pregnancy seems to be the best option , apart from the fact that it is also probably more comfortable, especially if you use pillows and cushions that allow you to keep your spine aligned.

Photos | iStock

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