Sleeping during pregnancy comes with a whole new bunch of complications that you may never have even thought about before. As your body grows, it becomes harder to find a nice sleeping position without causing hip or back pains. And if you are a side sleeper, the hip pains can get much worse for you.
Here, we will discuss how to avoid hip pain when sleeping on side during pregnancy. We will discuss why some sleeping positions are worse for you and how you can counter them with proper posture and support.
Why Does Hip Pain Occur During Pregnancy?
Hip pain is one of the most commonly associated physical conditions associated with pregnancy. For life to grow inside you, your body has to make the space to give your baby a habitable environment. To facilitate this, specific hormones are released in your body to relax and stretch your muscles.
As your body muscles relax to make room for the baby to grow, it imposes a significant toll on your bones, especially in your hips and your lower back. The spinal column experiences the most load near its base, which is then supported by your hip joints, causing both the structures to carry more load.
Pregnancy-related hip pains may also occur from an enlarged uterus pressing up against the sciatic nerves, which causes numbness or a tingling sensation in the hip and lower back area and may also cause extreme back pains. This condition is known as ‘Sciatica’.
Lower back and hip pains may also be caused by your general posture and your sleeping position. Not having proper back and leg support during sleep is detrimental to your skeletal structure during pregnancy.
Sleeping Position and Hip Pain During Pregnancy
It is most widely suggested that sleeping on your back is the best possible option during the first trimester, which supports under your knees to carry the lower body load. Sleeping on your side may be a bit uncomfortable during this time. It can also create more pressure on one side of the hip and cause pain.
Sleeping on your sides is highly recommended from the second trimester onwards, though most women feel discomfort and hip pains when they start sleeping on their sides. And, if you are a habitual side sleeper, it can be quite difficult for you to get through the first trimester without already having some hip issues.
As your uterus gets heavier over time, sleeping on your back will definitely cause you serious back issues. Not only that, sleeping on your back during late in pregnancy will impede the development of your child. It’s a suboptimal position that limits blood flow to the growing baby.
Even when side sleeping in an ideal position, you may naturally roll and return to a supine position, which can result in back issues.
Best Side for Side Sleeping During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women report sleeping on their left side during pregnancy. It is a naturally comfortable position, especially because it relieves the pressure on your liver that would be created from sleeping on the right side.
If you sleep on the right side, it will add the pressure of your body weight as well as the weight of your uterus on your livers. While it may not seem related to hip pain, it can cause inflammation in your joints, resulting in hip pain and lower back pains.
It is still safe to sleep on your right side if you feel more comfortable that way. A good thing to understand is that it is more about what makes sleeping easier for you than most things. But whichever position you choose, consult your doctor about it.
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How to Avoid Hip Pain When Sleeping on Your Side
Here are a few tips to avoid or reduce the hip pains you may experience when sleeping on your side during pregnancy.
1. Use a Back Wedge
After you have comfortably set yourself on a side you feel comfortable with, use a pillow as a wedge under your back to stop yourself from rolling over to a supine position during sleep.
2. Pregnancy Body Pillows
Body pillows are excellent load-bearing tools when you are sleeping on your sides. Pregnancy body pillows come in innovative shapes and sizes that can maximize your comfort and reduce hip pain.
3. Sleeping with Flat Pillows or No Pillows
Studies have shown that sleeping with high pillows under your head disturbs your natural spinal column and neck contortions. It results in improper weight distribution through your body and can cause hip pains.
4. Using Specialized Mattresses
Believe it or not, hip pain is a very common issue, and there are specialized mattresses for pregnancy that help reduce hip pain during this special time. We recommend using the best mattress for side sleepers with hip pain that you can find.
5. Core Strength Exercise
Building some core muscle strength can greatly benefit you if you suffer from hip pains. There are some easy to do exercises that you can try without having any issues. However, to be careful, you should always consult your gynecologist beforehand about it.
Yoga is very popular among pregnant women, as they relieve back pains by creating core muscles and facilitating good posture. Some great and relaxed poses include the cow pose and the child pose. They are fairly easy and can be done even in the late stages of pregnancy.
7. Posture Control
You can create good posture during the awake parts of the day, which will help you alleviate back pain during your sleep. Always use lumbar support while sitting and lean on your shoulders with a straight back instead of sinking into the couch cushions or chair seats.
Follow these tips, along with consultations from your physician and gynecologist, to achieve the best results for your unique physical condition. Knowing how to avoid hip pain when sleeping on side during pregnancy should considerably help you get through this physically challenging time as a side sleeper.