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      Sleeping positions during pregnancy


      Sleeping positions during pregnancy

      Updated on 27 June 2023

      You are in your second trimester now. It's time to relish your baby bump. Isn’t it? But there are certain doubts always in mind that often leave an expecting mom worried. And, with the growing belly week-by-week choosing the right position to sleep steps up the list of concerns. Common doubts that most pregnant women have: Can I lay on my back to sleep while pregnant? Do I hurt my baby when I sleep on my right side? Is sleeping on the left side the safest position for my baby? Let’s discuss this in detail and clarify your doubts as far as possible.

      As pregnancy progresses, the size of the uterus increases. During this period, you might find yourself in distress sleep. In the early stages of pregnancy, you can lie down as you like. Eventually, it becomes difficult with growing weeks.  

      Issues faced by pregnant women face while sleeping

      • In the 3rd trimester, the belly grows a bit bigger than earlier. It makes the mom-to-be grumpier while sleeping

      • It is common to experience backache during pregnancy. The back bears the weight of a growing stomach. Hence, the pressure on your back causes backache. 

      • Leg syndrome is another general issue in pregnancy. Most women experience uneasiness around the legs. Due to leg pain, you might constantly move your legs and desire to roll on the bed.

      • Most women are in a habit of sleeping sideways with their legs bent towards the tummy which gradually becomes difficult as the pregnancy progresses.

      Zeroing down to a comfortable & safe sleeping position can be quite challenging. Here’s what you shouldn’t be doing while you are pregnant:

      What happens if you accidentally sleep on your stomach while pregnant?

      Most people sleep on their stomachs. But all through pregnancy, the woman might be afraid as she may hurt the baby. Though in case, you sleep mistakenly on your stomach, avoid panic and anxiety. In prenatal, the uterus becomes thick and protects the fetus from external pressure. 

      Stomach sleeping is fine till the time you hit week 16. This is the turning point in your pregnancy that starts to deal with the growing bump making sleeping on your stomach a big No. Even if you try, you will feel the discomfort and would not be able to stretch it for long.

      Sleeping position during pregnancy for the first 3 months differ a lot and should be changed to side sleeping for upcoming months.

      Why is Back Sleeping not recommended?

      Again, sleeping on your back is safe until you are in your first trimester. Studies suggest that sleeping on your back may lead to sleep apnea or might be a cause of stillbirth. Apart from these, other health problems that might erupt are back pain, digestive issues or haemorrhoids. This happens as sleeping on one’s back puts all the weight of the uterus & fetus on your back and intestines. The main vein carrying blood upwards back to the heart also compresses. Poor blood circulation might leave you to feel dizzy.

      But that doesn’t mean that sleeping on your back even for a while is risky. The best thing to do is to keep changing positions.

      Left Side Sleeping: The most appropriate position to sleep during pregnancy

      The healthcare providers suggest the expectant mom sleep sidewise. The veins supply blood to the heart located on the right side. Therefore, sleeping on the left side is more recommendable. This position is also beneficial for your baby as it supplies more nutrients to the placenta keeping minimum stress on the Vena Cava. Sleeping on the left side has another benefit of easy digestion and enhancing kidney function. Hence, always try to hold your body to the left side to eliminate the chances of swelling in your feet, ankles or hands. Sleep with knees bent and place a pillow between the legs.

      Why can't I sleep on my right side while pregnant?

      There is no hard-core restriction for sleeping on the right side. It is not considered a wrong sleeping position during pregnancy. Still, some studies associate the right side with reduced fetal growth, preeclampsia and low birth weight.

      For choosing your second-trimester sleeping position, remember that as long as you are flipping sides and giving chance to your veins to relax, sleeping on the right side is not life-threatening.

      Closing thoughts

      So, don’t panic about choosing your sleeping position. It is common to go through a few distress moments during pregnancy. You require to relax often for the healthy growth of the baby. Sleep on a soft mattress that offers comfort. 


      1. Al-Musharaf, S. (2022). Changes in Sleep Patterns during Pregnancy and Predictive Factors: A Longitudinal Study in Saudi Women. Nutrients, 14(13), 2633.

      2. Silvestri, R., & Aricò, I. (2019). Sleep disorders in pregnancy. Sleep Science, 12(3).

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      Written by

      Loveleen Gupta

      A working mother with more than two decades of experience in writing for the publishing industry and digital space, Loveleen Gupta loves dabbling in creative writing also. A graduate from Miranda House, she uses her personal experiences to express herself.

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