Many women find themselves wondering about the best sleeping position when pregnant. Sleep issues are common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, and finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging. A few pregnant women may also worry that certain body positions might affect their health or that of their baby.
The National Sleep Foundation survey found that 78% of women have more trouble sleeping when pregnant, with 15% experiencing restless leg syndrome during the third trimester. Many women have also reported fatigue during pregnancy, particularly in the first and third trimesters. Rising progesterone levels and the effort of carrying the fetus can intensify this fatigue, which may be worsened by sleep deprivation.
In this infographic, we will look at the different pregnancy sleeping positions, which are the best and which to avoid. We will also discuss sleep aids that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Best Sleeping Positions for a Pregnant Woman
1] Sleeping Positions in Pregnancy
Let us look at all the sleeping positions in which one would typically sleep and see whether they should be continued or avoided during pregnancy.
- Sleeping on your left side or right side during pregnancy
Sleeping on the sides is considered the best resting position for a pregnant lady. There probably won’t be a major worry about your sleeping position during the initial three months of pregnancy. However, experts advise resting on the sides, particularly on the left side, as it is great for the baby. This position enables the maximum blood flow and nutrients to the placenta.
- Sleeping on your tummy during pregnancy
Even though your belly probably won’t begin to show till the second trimester, sleeping on your stomach isn’t one of the most pleasant or advised pregnancy sleeping positions. Your breasts will be delicate, and the growing belly will make it uncomfortable for you to rest in this position. Many expecting mothers accustomed to sleeping on their stomachs get a doughnut-shaped cushion, which enables them to sleep on their bellies for a couple of weeks.
- Sleeping on your back during pregnancy
Doctors advise against sleeping on the back as it is an unsafe sleeping position during pregnancy. While lying on the back during pregnancy, the growing uterus can affect the lungs and different organs. This may make it hard for you to inhale, causing you to feel unsteady and sick and leading to extreme back pains.
2] Different Sleeping Positions During Different Trimesters
Wrong sleeping positions during pregnancy can be painful both for the mother as well as the baby. As such, let’s walk through different sleeping positions during different trimesters.
2.1 – Sleeping in the First Trimester
At the start, it doesn’t make any difference which sleeping position you adopt during the first trimester. But, in the long run, it will be better for you and the baby if you start sleeping on your side, particularly on the left side. Sleeping on your sides with a pillow between your legs can prepare you for side sleeping in the coming months.
2.2 – Sleeping in the Second Trimester
Your sleeping position in the second trimester should be on your sides, as your belly has already begun to show. Sleeping on your back during the second trimester will be uncomfortable. Purchase good pregnancy pillows at this stage of your pregnancy. A pregnancy cushion can give your body the expected shape and support while decreasing back pain by maintaining a proper spinal alignment.
2.3 – Sleeping in the Third Trimester
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, changing position during sleep can be a major test because of the stomach weight. Accordingly, third-trimester pregnancy sleeping positions will be limited to either sleeping on the sides or sitting with your back and feet rested, particularly if you are carrying twins.
Following these sleeping positions during your entire pregnancy days can be beneficial for both – the baby and your mental and physical health. As long as the mother is happy and follows a healthy eating and sleeping routine, the baby feels quite happy in the womb.
3] Are There Any Sleeping Positions to Avoid?
- Stomach sleeping: Many pregnant women stress that sleeping on their stomachs will hurt the growing embryo. However, since the uterus protects the foetus well, sleeping on your stomach during the first trimester shouldn’t be But, as the pregnancy progresses, it is best to avoid sleeping on the stomach.
- Back sleeping while pregnant: In the third trimester — from the 28th week of your entire pregnancy — sleeping on the back may put pressure on the main blood vessels that transfer blood to the uterus. This pressure might reduce the oxygen supply to the foetus. It can also increase symptoms like dizziness and heartburn for the mother.
A recent report stated that back sleeping during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of stillbirth. Different other studies have come to comparable results. However, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that pregnant women sleeping in this position have hurt themselves or the baby. Thus, not all experts concur with the advice to not rest on the back.
4] Sleep Aids During Pregnancy
Various methods can help a pregnant woman sleep comfortably. Some of these include:
- Using pregnancy cushions: A wide range of different pregnancy cushions is available on the internet.
- Eating protein-rich food before bed: Especially during the first trimester, many women complain about waking up hungry in the middle of the night. Protein-rich food can decrease hunger, so eating food varieties like nuts, fish, peanut butter, and meat before sleeping may help with a night of good sleep.
- Medication: Certain medication may be safe during pregnancy. However, it is important to consult with a specialist prior to taking any medicine, including OTC medications.
- Lifting the torso and the head to reduce heartburn or indigestion: Many women find relief while sleeping in a semi-sitting position, for example, lying on the side of a reclining chair.
- Asking a doctor to test for lack of nutrients: Folic acid or iron can sometimes treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Consulting with a healthcare provider before taking medication to treat any condition is important.
5] Other Tips on Comfortable Sleep During Pregnancy
- Reduce caffeine intake: Caffeine is hurtful for you and your child during pregnancy. It also disturbs your sleeping pattern and can cause restless evenings.
- Limit water intake during bedtime: Getting up to pee over and over again at night can be disturbing and uncomfortable. So, limit your water intake while you’re about to sleep and empty your bladder before sleeping. To make it comfortable, deck your bed up with cushions for a restful sitting and sleeping space.
- Exercise, yoga and meditate: Yoga and light exercises during pregnancy can help you relax during pregnancy. Practising meditation before sleep, on the other hand, can help you have a restful sleep.
Sleep can sometimes be challenging at all stages of pregnancy. While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, different methods can help you find the ideal sleeping positions during pregnancy. Your can try different positions to improve your sleep quality. Also, ensure to eat right and exercise to enhance the growing baby’s well-being and your own. In addition, get in touch with an expert gynaecologist for early pregnancy care. This will help detect and prevent any complications before it worsens.