23 March 2011

Pregnancy requires sacrifice (Part 2)

Sleeping. On your back, in particular.
Would all of the back sleepers of the world please stand up?  << Come to think of it, maybe I should have asked you to lay down. >>
Even Rolo's a back sleeper.

Personal confession: I'm a back sleeper. Not a side-sleeper. Not a belly-sleeper. Back. Only.  Occasionally I'll kick up a knee and, from a bird's eye view, look like a flamingo standing on one leg, while still sleeping on my back.  If I try to sleep in a position other than on my back, I wake up on my back.

I did a lot of reading once I realized I had a baby on board. Everything you read will tell you that if you are pregnant you should never, not ever, under any circumstance, sleep on your back.

Freak Out --> commence.

I was losing sleep over the whole, "Don't sleep on your back."  I'd put body pillows behind me in order to not lay flat, and I'd place a pillow between my knees. Yet I'd wake up flat on my back, horrified that I'd hurt my baby.

The doctor I spoke with at 12 weeks gently informed me the only time sleeping on your back may not be advisable is when you're in the last few weeks of pregnancy. She said that by that point, I won't be remotely comfortable on my back and will naturally pick a side. She also said, "Don't worry."

So I didn't. For about 3 weeks. Bad for me because my appointments are 4 weeks apart. During that last week, I made the egregious mistake of reading online about back sleeping preggo's.  I subsequently found myself, once again, horrified.

The next week I had an appointment with a different doctor (in the same group practice), and he took all the time in the world to clear the air.  "First thing's first: I don't want you to lose sleep over sleeping on your back. Second, I want to give you the history of this particular recommendation to help you understand where it came from and why it's out there."

<< This is me, all ears with bated breath on the edge of my seat. >>

"Around the year 1975 there was a study done on a group of women who had high-risk pregnancies. They all had either high blood pressure, diabetes, or both. The results of the study indicated that when these women slept on their sides, there was a slight increase in blood flow and circulation reported. Approximately 5 years later the guidelines that were initially issued for this specific, high-risk group, were systematically incorporated into recommendations for all pregnant women. No new research was done to back this up. Notably, there were no new studies performed. It was simply absorbed into general recommendations for all pregnant women without scientific evidence to back it up."

Hence the fact that everything you can get your hands on about back sleeping screams not to.  Now I'll be honest- I haven't corroborated all of this information. I'm taking the doctor at his word.  I'm trusting him not to fib.

And I'm sleeping soundly, once again. On my back.  Gloriously comfortable for me.  Thank God.

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