Sleep is essential to recovery after pregnancy and childbirth, and many doctors recommend specific sleep positions to ensure quality of rest. Getting good quality sleep during and after pregnancy can be challenging. This is especially true if you are planning to deliver by C-Section.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of refreshing sleep in recovery, and we will give good recommendations for the 3 best sleep positions for new mums after C-Section. Read on to learn more.
Why are some sleep positions better than others?
The right sleeping position can:
- Reduce the amount of discomfort you experience as you recover.
- Help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep.
- Minimise the development of complications.
- Provide deeper, more refreshing sleep.
- Support faster recovery.
These 3 positions provide the greatest comfort after a C-Section
1. Back sleeping is usually the most comfortable position for people recovering from any kind of abdominal surgery. When you sleep on your back, you are least likely to disturb your incision site. Back sleeping is also the position most often recommended for good blood circulation and good back care. Remember that having a strong abdomen is dependent upon having a strong back and vice-versa.
On the downside, getting out of bed can be a bit difficult from a supine position. If you sleep on your back, be sure to roll onto your side and lead with your feet and legs when you get out of bed.
2. Side sleeping can be comfortable after Cesarean delivery. When you sleep on your side, you may or may not put pressure on your incision site. Side sleeping may cause problems with acid reflux, and may aggravate problems with edema.
On the other hand, If you have high blood pressure, side sleeping can be beneficial. It is also easier to get out of bed when lying on your side.
3. Elevating your torso may bring some comfort. Some women find that it is more comfortable to sleep in an adjustable bed, a recliner or a zero-gravity chair after a C-Section. The support offered by this position makes it easier to breathe and can benefit blood circulation in the pelvic area and the legs. If you don’t have an adjustable bed, a recliner or zero-gravity chair, use pregnancy pillows or a special foam wedge to create a comfortable sleeping environment on your bed.
Keeping your upper body elevated can help prevent obstructive sleep apnea (OPA) which is problematic for many women after childbirth. OPA may be caused by hormone imbalances or by pressure on the airways, both of which are common problems during and after pregnancy.
Get better sleep during your recovery
You need plenty of good sleep in order to heal efficiently and well. Here are a couple of tips to help you get to sleep quickly and sleep through the night.
- Begin light exercise as soon as your doctor approves. Light stretching and short walks keep your muscles toned, improve your blood circulation, reduce stress and promote healing.
- Eating well is essential to healing and recovery. Stay away from processed foods and sugar. Eat a balanced, whole foods diet that is rich in nutrients. Take a good multi-vitamin and be sure to get plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin C to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Be adaptive & flexible
Sleeping in one position all night may cause you to feel a bit achy. If this is the case, you can certainly move from one position to another. For example, if you are more comfortable sleeping on your back during the night but find it difficult to get up from a reclining position, transition toward rising by rolling over on your side for a while before you get up.
If you are a stomach sleeper, you may never be able to go back to that way of sleeping, but the good news is you will probably learn to enjoy back and side sleeping even more. Stomach sleeping is typically very bad for your back and neck, so learning to be a side or back sleeper is a smart step you can take to improve your overall health before, during and after your C-Section.
In this video, physical therapists Bob and Brad describe and demonstrate the best and worst sleeping positions. While this information is not specific to C-Section recovery, it is applicable.