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Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Now that you need a good night's sleep more than ever, it's unfortunately harder than ever to get. Finding a comfortable sleep position can be challenging with your growing bump, and not every position works during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know to stay comfortable and safe.

Why is sleep so important during pregnancy?

Sleep is the time when your body resets and repairs itself. It’s when your brain makes memories, making it an ally in your battle against baby brain. It’s how your blood vessels restore themselves, which is especially important now that they are under increased pressure from the extra blood flow required to support your baby.

Sleep also keeps your immune system — which is suppressed to support your pregnancy — healthy. And sleep controls how your body reacts to insulin; not getting enough results in a higher blood sugar level, upping your risk of gestational diabetes.

What is the best position to sleep in pregnancy?

According to the best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side) because it provides the best circulation for you and your baby. It also places the least pressure on your veins and internal organs. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. Plus good circulation helps reduce potential swelling, varicose veins in your legs and hemorrhoids.

How Can I Sleep More Comfortably During Pregnancy?

Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs to relieve the stress on your back.

  • 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.

Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is fine.

What if I wake up sleeping on my back in pregnancy?

Very few people stay in one position throughout the night. If you wake up sleeping on your back during pregnancy, or on your stomach, don't worry (repeat: don’t worry). No harm done.

The fact that you woke up in the first place is probably your pregnant body's way of telling you to change positions (and maybe go to the bathroom again, another common pregnancy sleep problem).

More Steps to Sleeping Better While Pregnant

  • Limit caffeine. Try not to drink coffee or caffeinated tea after 3 p.m.

  • Brink plenty of water. Drink lot of water through out the day, but limit intake a couple of hours before bedtime so you don’t have to wake up and go to the bathroom.

  • Exercise for 30 minutes. Exercise helps you sleep better, but don’t exercise within four hours of bedtime.

  • Relaxing activities. A warm bath, foot or shoulder massage will help you relax.

  • Peaceful bedroom. Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet and cool at night will help to drift off to sleep and stay asleep.

Not sure if you’re getting the right amount of sleep? The best way to judge is not by how many hours you are lying in bed but by how you feel. If you find that you’re not sleeping and are chronically tired — beyond the normal fatigue of pregnancy — you’re not getting enough sleep.

If you think lack of sleep is becoming an issue, talk to your healthcare practitioner. He or she can help you find the root of your problem and solutions to get the rest you need.


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