Left Lateral PositionThe best sleeping position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side). Even better is sleeping on left lateral position. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your baby. Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs.
Why pregnant women sleep in left position?Usually, doctors will advise sleeping in left lateral position during pregnancy, especially in the advanced gestational stage because during this period the size of uterus increases and it exerts pressure on underlying main abdominal blood vessels. It also decreases blood supply to fetal circulation. Decreased placental perfusion can lead to decreased nutrients and oxygen supply reaching to the fetus, which leads to hypoxia etc. Several studies have revealed that sleeping this way can reduce the chances of stillbirth as well. Thus make sure that you sleep on your left side during the final weeks of your pregnancy.
For pregnant women, lying on the left side will increase blood flow and nutrients coming to the placenta and fetus. Mothers’ kidneys will also work efficiently, eliminating fluid and drugs from their bodies. Sleeping in this position also decreases the edema in foot and hand for mothers. Otherwise, pressure on blood vessels can also lead to maternal complications like pedal edema, raised blood pressure etc.
Why left lateral position is recovery position?Left rather than right lateral recovery position reduces the pressure on the inferior vena cava (the main vein bringing blood from the lower body to the heart) in patients with increased mass or pressure in the abdomen (e.g. pregnancy) this helps the blood flow back to the heart to then be pumped around the body again. Pressure on the inferior vena cava reducing venous return(blood flow to the heart) can result in reduced blood flow, leading to shock.
But women can change the position during sleeping, Changing the position for shorter periods usually won’t affect the blood supply much.