Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

 Pregnant woman trying to find the best sleeping position

During pregnancy you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. Unfortunately, your regular sleeping positions may no longer work for you during pregnancy. There are a number of reasons that cause this new discomfort, but there are some sleeping positions that you can try that may help you get your much needed rest.

Why am I so uncomfortable in my normal sleeping positions?

When you are pregnant your body goes through a variety of changes. These changes tend to disrupt your usual peaceful slumber.

Reasons may include:

What are the Best Sleep Positions During Pregnancy?

Pregnant woman sleeping on her side

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side). Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. Keep your legs and knees bent and a pillow between your legs.

  • If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
  • If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
  • In late pregnancy you may experience shortness of breath; try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out and you may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night and rotating positions is fine.

What Sleep Positions During Pregnancy Should I Avoid?

Pregnant woman sleeping on her back

Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava).

Sleeping on your stomach: When you are farther along in your pregnancy, your abdomen undergoes physical changes and makes it more difficult for you to lay on your stomach.

Last Updated: 03/2007

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Nemours Foundation, http://www.kidshealth.org

Your Pregnancy Week by Week Fifth Ed. Curtis, Glade B., OB/GYN, et al. Week 16.