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The Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Pregnancy is rather a technical and tricky situation to be in. As a pregnant woman, let’s accept it for once and for all, the struggles are endless! You begin to constantly question all your daily habits which you never gave a thought to pre-pregnancy. “Am I eating right,” “Am I exercising right,” “Am I walking right,” and the most basic of all- “Am I sleeping right?”

Comfortable sleep positions during pregnancy, especially once the stomach begins to show and bulge, could feel rather difficult to find. Ironically, you will most likely crave a good sound sleep the most during pregnancy and it is also in this phase that the comfortable sound sleep is hardest to find. However, to help you get the closest possible to an ultimate rejuvenating sleep, here we have some of the best sleeping positions during pregnancy!

Ideal sleep positions during pregnancy: Explained

Sleeping position 1: Sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy

If you are a woman who has spent her life sleeping on her stomach, regardless of how many times advised to not do so, here’s a little good news: sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy is absolutely okay until your baby bump starts to show and make things uncomfortable. In other words, the stomach sleep position is okay until the 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, once that happens, you will naturally switch your sleeping positions to find comfort.

Sleeping position 2: Sleeping on your back during pregnancy

Sleeping on your back, you may be surprised to know, is not recommended during pregnancy, especially during the second and the third trimester. This is so because when you sleep on your back, then the entire weight of the uterus and the baby is put on your back, intestines, and your vena cava- the vein responsible for carrying impure blood back from the lower body to the heart.

This increased pressure on the organs, as a result of sleeping on your back, may cause severe backaches, hemorrhoids, indigestion, poor blood circulation, hypotension, and random episodes of dizziness. Poor blood circulation, subsequently, can cause a reduced blood flow to the fetus, hampering the flow of oxygen, blood, nutrients, and food to the growing fetus.

Sleeping the whole night on your back is also suggested to potentially cause stillbirth as per some studies. Hence, though it is okay to lie down on your back for some time or to wake up on your back at times, pregnant women are otherwise advised to not sleep on the back during pregnancy.

Sleeping position 3: Sleeping on your left or right side during pregnancy

Sleeping on either side of the body – though preferably on the left- during pregnancy is an ideal pregnancy sleeping position. Sleeping on your side, especially on the left, promotes an excellent flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta, reducing the workload on the vena cava (the vein supposed to carry impure blood back from the lower body to the heart). Sleeping on the left side during pregnancy also further boosts the functioning of the kidney, resulting in faster, better elimination of toxic body waste. Enhanced elimination of unwanted body products can also reduce Edema or swelling in the feet, ankles, and hands.

While left is the ideal or the most advised sleeping position, you may be happy to know that a study in 2019. concluded that sleeping on the right side is a safe position too. There could be a slight risk of inferior vena cava compression but again, the risk is very rare.

Tips on finding a comfortable sleep position

Pregnancy, though undeniably one of the most beautiful phases of a woman’s life, can be rather daunting, especially in first-time pregnancies as a mother has to make so many alterations in her life to be able to correctly nurture the baby.

You may be a woman who has been a back sleeper all her life and now suddenly needs to breathe the pattern and get used to sleeping on the left side. Getting an optimal, restful, rejuvenating nap might seem like an ordeal, and rightly so. However, pregnancy pillows could become your best friend to help you tackle your pregnancy sleep problems and to get you the sleep you deserve!

Invest in a lot of pregnancy pillows

As a pregnant woman in today’s times, you can prepare yourself to be spoilt for choices! There are tons of pregnancy sleeping pillows available in the market. Invest in a snug sleep pillow, cross one leg over the other while putting one pillow between them and another pillow behind your back. You may also want to buy a full-body-human-size 5 feet pillow or a wedge-shaped pillow for the special, extra support. Stomach pregnancy pillows are also recommended, however, be informed, sleeping on the stomach is not advised beyond 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Orthopedic knee pillows for special knee support could also be used.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy will be a phase of your life where even the most regular activities of the day might begin to feel like you’re doing them wrong but keep in mind, it does not necessarily have to be so. do not spend your energy and time overthinking; and when it comes to sleeping – especially not! Just remember that as long as you’re sleeping on either of your sides, specifically after the first trimester, you are good to go.

At times you may wake up on your back but look at that as your body’s sign of telling you to switch sides and try making a conscious effort to not sleep on your back. As a mom-to-be, you are sure going to get used to it in no time!

FAQs: The Best Sleep PositionsDuring Pregnancy

1) What is the best position to sleep in during pregnancy?

The best sleeping position during pregnancy in terms of safety is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping in the left contributes to excellent, optimal blood circulation through the body during pregnancy.

2) What if you accidentally wake up sleeping on your back in pregnancy?

It is natural for a person in sleep to lose track of your position and wakeup on your back. Though it is OK to wake up on your back and this is not something to be worried about, slip back on your side and tell yourself each day before sleeping that you have to sleep on the side. Sleeping on the back during pregnancy is primarily not recommended because it can disrupt the flow of blood leaving you feeling dizzy and short of breath.

3) Does sleeping comfortably help determine a baby's sex?

Old folklores may claim that the side you sleep comfortably on can determine the sex of the baby in the stomach. However, in reality, there are no definitive studies to suggest that a sleep position has any correlation to the sex of your baby.

4) Can I hurt my baby by sleeping on my right side?

No, as per a study conducted in 2019, unlike popular belief, sleeping on the right side does not hurt the baby. There's only a very slight risk associated with the compression of IVC but it is very rare.

5) How should you sit in bed while pregnant?

If you are in a sitting position on the bed, try to maintain a position that maintains an optimal curve in the back. This curve can be defined as the one with your knees slightly bent and with a pregnancy pillow in between the knees.


Reviewed By:

Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Dr. Esha Chainani is an Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and laparoscopic surgeon who aims to break the stigma around women’s health by advocating an inclusive and open practice of obstetrics and gynecology and an author of several internationally published research papers and health articles in the media like the Swaddle.
She also founded Premaa, a non-profit to reduce maternal morbidity and eventual maternal mortality by providing lower-income pregnant women living in urban areas with cell phone access through an app that can feature an entire section about contraception as well for a whole gamut of reproductive health.
A panel for multiple health sessions including with the UN, USAID, BMC, gender at work, and multiple non-profit organisations, and is on the advisory panel of the South Indian medical students association.

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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