Breathlessness in third trimester

‘Hello third trimester, it is so nice to finally meet you!’ Those were the words I first said after waltzing into my final trimester. No matter how many books you read, you can never be quite so prepared for how your individual pregnancy will be. Everything I was told, was so irrelevant to what I experienced. Seriously ladies, try not to listen to anyone apart from your medical professionals and maybe your mum or sister. From my personal experience, everyone else’s ride was quite different to mine. Granted, there were a small few similarities, no-one had the same issues as I did. And if they did, their body reacted differently to them.

One of the things I was told by everyone was to sleep on my left. Yes, I can hear all you mamas to be agreeing with that. But did you know why? No one told me why, and honestly, I didn’t think of asking why. I knew it had something to do with the weight of the uterus, nothing more than that. Well, I recently had the luck of finding out why.

Vena Cova

You see that big blue vein in the picture? That’s Vena Cava, a large vein that supplies deoxygenated blood from the lower and middle body into the right atrium of the heart. When you sleep on your back, your uterus and its weight rest on that artery. Stopping the blood supply to your heart! How do I know this? The last few of weeks have been hell for me. I am one of those people that cannot sleep on their sides. At all. No matter how much I try. My body automatically pushes me to lay on my back. As the baby grows, the weight has been difficult to deal with. I have started struggling for air in the middle of the night, passing out, and most of all, snoring like a LION! This didn’t help my anxiety and I started getting mild panic attacks at night. However, a nice midwife at my hospital explained this to me on the phone in detail. Although she basically told me not to call the hospital for advice unless it was a dire emergency, she did put my mind at rest.

As the baby grows, the weight has been difficult for me to deal with. I started struggling for air in the middle of the night, passing out whilst sitting, and most of all, snoring like a LION! This didn’t help my anxiety and I started getting mild panic attacks at night. However, a nice midwife at my hospital explained this to me on the phone in detail. Although she basically told me not to call the hospital for advice unless it was a dire emergency, she did put my mind at rest. ( I was told by my doctor to speak to my midwife and she told me to speak to the hospital. Now, I have no one to ask for help!)

I have now learned how to place pillows under my right side to stop my body from laying flat on my back. Body pillows have not been of much help to me, a regular pillow, however, has worked quite well! Maybe it’s also because I sleep on the left side of the bed?Maybe. Don’t sleep on your right either if you can. You don’t want to stop your liver from working properly by squashing it with your uterus.

So, my advice to you is, don’t waste your money on body pillows. The further you go into your pregnancy, the more you will realise the benefits of using everyday items to make your life easier. A pillow under your right side and one between your knees will give you a better night’s sleep! Good luck!

** If above method does not work for you or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your medical team asap!**

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