Pregnancy guide > You > Mums to be > Sleep during pregnancy > Sleep positions for pregnancy

Sleep positions for pregnancy

Advice on the sleep positions recommended for pregnancy with information on the use of maternity pillows and medical advice.
Getting a good nights sleep while you are pregnant can seem like an almost impossible task. Especially because finding a sleeping position that is comfortable for more than 5 minutes is difficult to say the least! Unfortunately, this is only likely to get worse as your pregnancy progresses and your tummy expands. However, all is not lost - with a combination of pillows and perseverance you may be able to get a comfortable nights sleep!

The sleeping position currently recommended by many health care professionals as the most suitable for pregnancy is lying on the left side of your body with your knees slightly bent. This position is seen as 'best' as it prevents the weight of your unborn baby putting pressure on your internal organs and on the blood vessel (called the inferior vena cava) that carries blood from your legs and feet back towards your heart. Pressure on this blood vessel caused by lying on your back for prolonged periods has been known to cause dizziness, shortness of breath and even low blood pressure.

If you usually sleep on your stomach or back this position may not seem very comfortable to begin with. It is however, beneficial for you and your baby. This is because lying on your left side relieves pressure from your liver and kidneys, improving the circulation of blood and nutrients around your body and to the placenta and expelling fluid and waste products more effectively, reducing swelling and water retention.

As sleeping on your back causes your uterus to put pressure on your intestines, side sleeping also helps to improve digestion and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Additionally, for those in the early stages of pregnancy side sleeping can be more comfortable for tender breasts and also help to relieve nausea.

If you are not naturally a side sleeper it is a good idea to get used to sleeping in this position early on in pregnancy so that by the time you reach your second trimester and have a growing bump to contend with you know how to make yourself comfortable.

As your pregnancy progresses placing a pillow between your legs to provide support for your hips, one under your bump and one just under your lower back can relieve pressure and aches and help to make you more comfortable. A phenomenal range of maternity pillows and wedges are available and these can double up as nursing pillows when your baby is born. Alternatively, using regular household pillows is a good and economical alternative. Memory foam sheets that sit on top of your mattress can also reduce pressure on your joints and help to make you more comfortable.

Alternatively, if your partner feels left out of your pillow made fortress you could try lying on your side with your bump resting on their side or back as many find that this does just as good a job as a pillow.

You should not worry about rolling onto your back during the night as you are likely to wake yourself up if you are in any discomfort. However, if you find yourself in a back position you should roll over into the side position before you go back to sleep. If you find it really difficult to sleep on your side even with the help of strategically placed maternity pillows you should seek advice from your health care professional.

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hiya im 17 week pregnant is it ok 2 sleep on your belly it just i can only get 2 sleep that way.
by 1234kason 27th Aug 2010, 5:01pm
hi. i am 33 weeks pregnant and sleeping is one of my hobbies. since i have been pregnant my sleep is a problem. the baby is always waking me up in the night. it is my first baby so help me and my sleep PLZZZZZZZZ
by 250693 11th Aug 2010, 5:27pm
How uch of a problem is it to sleep on your stomach and in what trimester should this be stopped?. I naturally sleep on my stomach and am now very concious of the baby.
by Ninzi 18th May 2010, 5:30pm
from my 18th week of pregnancy i had to sleep with a large pillow between my theighs or my leg over my boyfriend as it was impossible to get comfortable. now i am 36 weeks pregnant and now its almonst impossible to get comfortable in any position cause when i luy on one side the baby moves and then when i change to the other she moves again and it makes me feel guilty like im squashing her so i end up tryin to sleep on my back but get so out of breath. roll on labour day !! :D
by Leonna 18th May 2010, 5:13pm
Is it necessary to rise every time before changing position during sleep?
by ArdraSudeep 14th May 2010, 5:35pm
Thanks for the tips i cant wait to sleep well!!!
by MrsJohnson22 5th Jan 2010, 3:48pm
I'm in my 18th week, and sleep is a nightmare! I have always slept flat on my stomach with my legs straight, obviously i cannot do this anymore as bump is there and makes this so uncomfortable. I have tried sleeping on my sides but i get a bad shoulder if i sleep on my left and a bad hip if i sleep on my right, when i finally get comfy i have to get up for the toilet!
by sparklemotion 31st Dec 2009, 9:05am
I'm only 7weeks and this my first child!!! And I am very excited!!! But anyways I sleep on my back sometimes and it kinda gives me belly aches is that normal?! I'm just full of questions so if any one wants to give me advice please do....... sweetandsour_angel_69@yahoo.com thank u and good luck to all those mothers out there
by Didimama 2nd Dec 2009, 9:11am
i am 13weeks old now,my belly is still not yet bulging and sometimes sleeping on my bag is a bit comfortable for me,cause i seem to toss and turn most times trying to get a good position.But i believe as the pregnancy gets older,sleeping sideways as mentioned is the best alternative.
by zee200 24th Jun 2009, 9:50am
Well, I have decided at 18 weeks to buy a maternity pillow that I can also use for breastfeeing afterwards and I'm looking forward to using it. I used to sleep quite happily on my left side before I was pregnant but have found it especially uncomfortable since getting back ache as of 16 weeks. I seem always to roll myself over by accident in the night and stay there, so I'm hoping the pillow works to keep me comfy.
by Pigkate 12th May 2009, 9:55am
thank for your advice on sleeping position . but my advice is that in the night i always fill pain in my left leg and this will happen in,the night while turning from one position to another. l am 34 weeks my baby is always active in the day time than in nnight. advice. THANK . adibite arit.
by adibite 14th Apr 2009, 12:51pm
im 31 weeks pregnant an so far i've found that the most important thing is that ur getting sleep at all, as u get bigger u will need to sleep on ur side as the weight of the baby on ur back can cause u 2 pass out in ur sleep (so ive been told). But u will find as u get heavier u will naturally sleep on ur side cause it hurts to sleep on ur back. I'm on my first too so all my experiences are new to me. The only problem i have now is when my baby wakes up an kicks me! lol!
by Dudge 11th Mar 2009, 9:17am
I SLEEP ON MY SIDE BUT WHEN I WAKE UP USUALLY FIND MYSELF ON MY BACK, WHAT CAN I DO? CAN THIS AFFECT MY PREGNANCY? THIS IS MY 1ST BABY PLEASE HELP ME OUT.
by ayencolad 5th Jan 2009, 9:22am
I understand that sleeping on your left side is good for you but when you have back problems it is hard. I normally sleep in a sitting position. Is that ok for me and the baby? If it is not I will live with the back pain and sleep on my left side. This is my first pregancy and I'm not sure what I can and can't do. This website has helped me alot. I'm 8 weeks has of Monday.
by ozzbee 30th Oct 2008, 9:42am
I AM 13 WEEKS AND IT HURTS TO SLEEP ON MY SIDE AND ON MY BACK AND IM COMFORTABLE SLEEPING ON MY STOMACHE
by ANYKA 24th Oct 2008, 9:01am
im 33 weeks pregnant i cant sleep at night ...... my hubby gets mad because he wants to sleep with him .....
by solis 3rd Sep 2008, 9:25am
my cervix has been stitch on the 15th week, what should my sleeping position be, can i do a little execise,what should i eat or what are the dos and don't in my situation please reply soon.
my doctor ask me to stay in bed throughout is it safe? can't i walk aroud since sleeping all the time heavy and weak
by asafomaame 17th Jun 2008, 1:20pm

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