Pregnancy takes you on a beautiful journey but there are obstacles along the way, especially back pain, which impacts more than half of moms-to-be. The good news is that a good sleeping position with the right sleep hygiene can soothe your back pain and give you peace of mind. This guide is here to help you understand more about back pain during pregnancy and the benefits quality sleep can bring to you during your pregnancy.

What types of pregnancy back pain are there?

You’re not alone when it comes to pregnancy back pain: it’s more common than you might think among expectant women and usually occurs in the second trimester, although those who already have chronic back problems may notice symptoms much earlier. 

Similar to the differences in the initial onset of back pain, the pain level also differs among pregnant women. What might be a mild discomfort for you may be a more debilitating pain for others. Mothers are as unique as the babies they are carrying.

What are the causes of pregnancy back pain?

Obviously, the extra weight you are carrying is going to be one reason for back pain, and it pays to watch your posture and adjust your stance as your body shifts its center of gravity to accommodate your growing bundle of joy. But given that in the early stages you aren’t going to notice too much of a difference on the scales, it stands to reason there are other causes.

Some body changes, including the rise of relaxin and progesterone inside the body, are invisible to us. These reproductive hormones relax your ligaments and joints in the pelvic and spinal areas, working together with your abdominal muscles as they separate to prepare your body for labor. Unfortunately, your spine receives less support from neighboring muscles at this point, which eventually leads to back pain.

Finally, don’t forget to look after your mental well-being. If you find yourself getting stressed or worried, your muscles will tense up in reaction, which can result in back pain. The more your mental health is challenged, the more pain you may experience. You should not overlook the role this plays in your pregnancy journey.

Are there recommended pregnancy sleeping positions?

Now you understand the causes of back pain during pregnancy, we’d love to suggest some simple sleeping positions that will help to relieve your back pain. Research has proven that the ideal position is side sleeping, which reduces the pressure on your back. Even better, if you roll to the left side with bent knees, you maximize blood flow to your baby and will reduce any swelling in your legs and ankles. 

If you are not used to side sleeping, why not get some pillows to help you maintain this sleeping posture? Tucking a pillow behind yourself effectively stops you from rolling on your back, or you could invest in a pregnancy moon pillow. This great invention is specifically designed for mums-to-be to hug during sleep as its clever design lifts and supports some weight of your baby to ease your backache. Another recommended way of using the moon pillow is to lay it around your back so you can put your knees higher and keep your spine in alignment while you sleep.

What sleeping positions should I avoid during pregnancy?

Of all the sleeping positions, back sleeping is considered a no-no when you’re pregnant. Sleeping on your back means the weight of your growing baby puts a lot of pressure on your spine and worsens back pain. Furthermore, your main blood vessels are compressed, restricting the oxygen and nutrients supply.

Having said that, don’t worry if you do roll onto your back during your sleep. Especially in late pregnancy, a large bump sitting on top of you will ensure you won’t stay asleep for long! If you wake on your back, simply roll to your side and let yourself drift back off to sleep. 

How does sleep change throughout the pregnancy?

We all agree that sleep is essential, but as an expectant mother, you’ll need more sleep than normal. 

During the first trimester, you’ll feel much drowsier in the daytime due to the rise of progesterone, a crucial hormone that helps your baby to grow. Unfortunately, this hormonal change will also make it harder to fall asleep at night, which can result in sleep deprivation. An easy trick to make up for lost sleep is to take short but frequent naps, to ensure you and your baby get the health benefits of enough sleep.

These sleeping problems normally disappear in the second trimester, but return in the final months alongside new physical and mental challenges. Your baby has now grown a lot in size, so it’ll be harder for you to find a comfortable sleeping position. Also, as you’re heading towards your due date, the anticipation of becoming a parent can take their toll on you, disrupting both your daytime and nighttime routines.

What should I look for in mattresses and pillows to prevent pregnancy back pain?

Great quality bed and bedding essentials are needed to perfect your sleeping experience when pregnant.

When you are picking a pregnancy mattress, be sure to go for one with a firmness level that properly supports your spine and will offer relief from any back pain. 

If you’re longing for a good night’s sleep but have a restless partner? Make your dream come true with a mattress that features motion isolation and look out for the hypoallergenic tag to ease any nighttime sneezing and sniffling.

When it comes to finding the perfect pregnancy pillow, choose one that has a cotton cover filled with microfiber filling, as it offers a comfy cloud-like support to your head. 

To keep your head cool, we recommend picking a pillow with excellent breathability that can prevent overheating, and of course,a natural fiber cover such as cotton will provide the best experience.

Just like the importance of a firm mattress during pregnancy, your sleep quality also depends on the pillow’s support, which is responsible for holding your neck in the right position. So be prepared to swap out your pre-pregnancy pillow if you find your quality of sleep is suffering.

With the perfect combo of mattress and pillow, all you lovely moms-to-be can reward yourselves with some seriously sweet dreams!