Sleep Positions During Pregnancy

Pregnant women know very well the struggle of sleeping with a baby bump. You can't find a comfortable sleep position, your back hurts, and you're exhausted from all the changes that pregnancy brings.

Some pregnant women also wonder if their sleeping position can hurt their baby or result in any pregnancy complications.

sleep positions during pregnancy - hero

Reasons for Sleep Discomfort during Pregnancy

The following are some of the reasons you may be having difficulty sleeping during pregnancy:

In this article, you are going to learn about different sleep positions and some amazing hacks to sleep better during pregnancy.

Why is Sleep Important during Pregnancy?

pregnant woman sleeping upright on couch

If a pregnant woman does not get quality sleep she may experience emotional and physical fatigue. This fatigue can make it difficult for her to function properly.

Lack of sleep can also result in depression that can cause serious complications in pregnancy. It might lead to high blood pressure and possibly protein in your urine during pregnancy, a condition known as preeclampsia. There can also be some developmental problems for the baby. /p>

Tips to Sleep Comfortably during Pregnancy

You can follow these simple tips to have a comfortable sleep during pregnancy:

  • Bend your knees and legs and put a pillow between your legs. It will relieve stress from your back.
  • If you are having a severe backache, you can place a pillow under your abdomen. The pillow will support the baby's weight. Sleeping on the side will also help to reduce back pain during pregnancy.
  • For heartburn during pregnancy, experts suggest putting a pillow under the upper body and head so chest is elevated.

pregnant woman sleeping with chest elevated

  • You can elevate your legs by placing a pillow under them to relieve leg pain and swelling.
  • Some women experience shortness of breath during late pregnancy, lying on the side with a comfortable pillow will help you to reduce the symptoms of this condition.
  • Try to limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy, especially in the evening. Caffeine intake can make you active which affects your sleep routine.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Yes, keeping yourself hydrated can indeed help you to have better sleep at night. But avoid drinking water 2 hours before bedtime so you don't have to wake up at night for the bathroom.
  • Drinking a glass of warm milk also helps to sleep fast. Similarly, foods enriched with carbohydrates like bread or crackers can promote healthy sleep.
  • For snacks select something high in protein to keep your blood sugar level high. It helps to prevent bad dreams and headaches.
  • Daily exercise and keeping yourself active will also help you with sleep. It also promotes physical and mental health. But avoid it within 4 hours of bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable. A dark, quiet, and cool bedroom will also help you to have a peaceful sleep.
  • Try some relaxation techniques to keep your mind calm and relax your muscles. You can try yoga, massage, deep breathing, stretching, and a hot bath before going to bed.
  • You can ask your health care provider for dietary supplements to help you sleep better.

Best Sleep Positions During Pregnancy

The following are some of the best sleeping positions during pregnancy:

1. SOS (Sleeping on the Side)

SOS, which means sleeping on the side, is considered the best sleeping position during pregnancy. It provides better blood and oxygen circulation to your body and your baby.

Better circulation also minimizes the chances of swelling, varicose veins in the legs, and hemorrhoids.

When you sleep on your side you are putting minimum pressure on your veins and internal organs.

1.1. Sleeping on the Left Side

You might have heard of the benefits of sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on the left side during pregnancy is considered an ideal position.

Sleeping on the left side in pregnancy helps your body to give a better supply of nutrients and blood to the placenta. It also minimizes the chances of swelling in the hands, ankles, and feet.

1.2. Sleeping on the Right Side

If sleeping on the left side is important in pregnancy, should we avoid sleeping on our right side? Not necessarily. 

Sleeping on the right side comes with a slight risk of exerting compression with the inferior vena cava (IVC), the major vein that brings oxygen-poor blood from the lower body back to the heart..

It is also practically impossible to sleep on a single side for hours. But as long as you are comfortable, you can sleep on either of the two sides.

speciallyme pregnancy pillow for side sleepers - comfortable sleep

To help you sleep on your side and get the support you need, try our U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow.
With adjustable firmness and included band, it is designed to cradle your body, providing just the right amount of support you need, as you sleep.

2. Stomach Sleeping

You can sleep on your stomach before starting week 16 to 18 of your pregnancy.

With tender and swollen breasts and a growing abdomen, sleeping on the stomach becomes very uncomfortable and you should also avoid it.

After week 16 your baby bump starts to get bigger and it would be very uncomfortable for you to sleep in this position. But if it is your habit you don't need to worry, you are not going to crush your baby under you. Amniotic fluid and the uterine wall protects your baby.

For a more comfortable experience, you can use a stomach maternity pillow for your belly. You can also use a donut-shaped pillow making room for your belly, to have a comfortable and peaceful sleep.

Sleeping Positions to Avoid during Pregnancy

During the nine months of pregnancy and especially during the second and third trimester, try to avoid:

Sleeping on your Back

If you sleep on your back during pregnancy, you are increasing your chances of developing backache, shortness of breath, digestive problems, and low blood pressure.

When you sleep on your back, your growing abdomen puts pressure on your intestines and major blood vessels that results in all these health problems mentioned above.

How to have a better sleep during all three trimesters?

As your pregnancy progresses, it becomes difficult for you to sleep properly at night. You can try different sleeping positions during all three trimesters.

Sleeping in the First Trimester

In the beginning, you can sleep in any position. During this period of pregnancy, your uterus is still in its initial stages and the tiny fetus weight together doesn't bother your sleep much.

But if you want to change your habit of sleeping on a peculiar side, you can place a pillow between your legs. It will help you to ease the discomfort in your lower back area.

During the first trimester, you might also feel uncomfortable due to frequent urination and your visits to the bathroom. At this stage, some women also feel stressed out due to physical and emotional changes associated with pregnancy.

Sleeping in the Second Trimester

During the second trimester, you might feel a little relief from frequent urination and pressure of the growing fetus on your bladder. Still, the growing baby and emotional stress might disturb your sleep.

For your second trimester, try using a firm mattress. It will support your back and baby weight. If your mattress is too soft, you can place a board or plank of wood between your mattress and box spring for extra support.

U or C-shaped pillows are also very helpful during this period. They wrap around your body and give support during side sleep.

Sleeping in the Third Trimester

In the third trimester, you are more likely to experience sleeping problems. You might feel discomfort while sleeping due to your growing pregnancy belly, heartburn, leg cramps, sinus congestion, and frequent urination,

At this stage of pregnancy, you can still use the pregnancy pillow for support. During this period, wedge pillows are very helpful. You can place them under your belly and back to keep yourself from rolling.

Elevating the head of your bed can also be helpful in the third trimester. You can place some books or blocks to elevate it a couple of inches.

Some Useful Pregnancy Pillows to help you with your Sleep

The following pregnancy pillows can help you with sleeping:

Some Sleep Aids to Have a Better Sleep during Pregnancy

For different women, different strategies work to have a better sleep at night. Here we have created a list of some sleeping aids for you:

  • Eat small meals and have less fatty food to avoid heartburn.
  • Eat protein-rich food like nuts, fish, meat, and peanut butter to reduce your appetite.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for a vitamin deficiency test. Deficiency of iron and folic acid can result in restless leg syndrome.
  • Sleep in a semi-sitting position. Some pregnant women find this position very helpful for better sleep. You can use a reclining sofa or chair to sleep comfortably. This position also works for reducing heartburn.

Final Thoughts

All the above-mentioned tips and sleeping positions might not sound comfortable to try, especially if you are not used to sleeping on either of your sides. But trying them wouldn't hurt you at all.

Also, remember that you may not sleep in the same position throughout the night. So it is normal to keep changing your positions.

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