Why You Shouldn’t Sleep On Your Back During Pregnancy

Most people put sleeping among their favorite things to do, but what many people don’t know is that the position in which you sleep has a big impact on your health.

6 Potential Benefits of Sleeping on the Left Side of Your Body

1. It improves the function of the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system plays an important role in your organism for removing waste and toxins from all parts of the body. Experts claim that the thoracic duct, which is the biggest lymphatic vessel, is placed on the left side. This is why, when you sleep on the left side of the body, your body can more easily and efficiently eliminate the toxins.

2. The spleen can perform much better

The spleen is the biggest organ of the lymphatic system, and it’s positioned on the left side. When you sleep on this side, the spleen is functioning at a more efficient level. The basic reason for this is gravity which increases the circulation of blood in the spleen itself, which makes the filth in the organism be better filtrated.

3. It promotes the correct elimination of waste

The connection between the small and large intestines is placed on the left side of the body, in an area called colic valve. When you’re sleeping on the left side, the gravity helps the waste go from the small to the large intestine much faster.

4. Lowering of stomach acids

If you’re experiencing stomach acids, it would be better for you to consider sleeping on the left side, because you’ll prevent the acids from the stomach to go to the esophagus.

5. You’re not burdening the liver

The liver is placed on the right side of the body, and if you’re sleeping on this side you put pressure on the organ. But if you’re sleeping on the left side, the toxins and other harmful substances won’t burden it.

6. Sleeping on the left side of your body is good for your heart

The left side of the heart receives blood from the lungs and it pumps it towards the rest of the body. This is the exact reason why you will be helping your heart to perform better.

The why behind the warnings

As your uterus gets larger (usually by the time you’re 20 weeks ― that’s five months ― along), it’s big enough that it lies on top of your inferior vena cava, if you’re lying on your back, explains Cleveland Clinic Ob/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD.

“This big blood vessel is what brings blood flow back to your heart,” Dr. Zanotti explains. “So the thought is if you have anything large that’s pushing against the blood flow return, you’ll have less blood flow to your heart. That means you’ll have less blood flow to yourself and the baby.”

So what can this actually do?

Researchers in New Zealand found that there was a potential increased risk of stillbirth for women who slept the entire night on their back. But Dr. Zanotti says these and similar studies were small, not randomized and shouldn’t be taken as definite proof.

For instance, the studies looked at women who spent all night on their backs and never got up to go to the bathroom. “But most women don’t sleep the entire night without getting up at that point in pregnancy ― even if they wish they could,” Dr. Zanotti says.

Plus, she adds, there are many factors involved in pregnancy, so it’s really hard to say one thing causes stillbirths or other problems. “A lot of women who are back sleepers may be snorers or have sleep apnea. That’s where these studies are faulted because you can’t weed out all those things.”

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