Sleeping During Pregnancy

When I was pregnant, especially during the third trimester, I found sleeping during pregnancy to be a big challenge. At this point my belly was pretty big, I had to pee all the time, and my hips were aching. Sleeping in the right position and adding pillows really helped. Today I have a guest post that talks all about sleeping during pregnancy and the most comfortable positions.

Sleeping During Pregnancy

Pregnancy affects just about every area of your life. Along with the drastic physical changes and odd cravings, you will even notice that your old sleep regimen no longer does the trick.

Being that a restful night’s sleep is more important during pregnancy than any other time in your life, this issue needs to be addressed sooner than later.

For the mommy-to-be, finding a comfortable position to sleep in is often frustrating. While battling discomfort and navigating through the nightly twists and turns, restless nights have become a norm. Below is our guide on how to get comfy while maintaining a safe sleeping position for yourself and your baby.

Why Is It So Hard To Get Comfortable?

Understanding the source of discomfort often helps to find a solution. The first and most obvious reason is that your body is growing and changing in order to accommodate your baby’s growth.

As a result, it’s normal for your habits to change and thus, need to find new ways to be comfortable. In addition to your growing belly, here are some other common symptoms that cause difficulty sleeping during pregnancy:

  • The increased need to urinate
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia due to hormonal changes
  • Heartburn

What Positions To Avoid

As you may have already noticed while tossing and turning – there’s certain positions that just don’t make sense anymore. Beyond comfort, sleeping on your stomach and back can cause safety issues for your growing baby so, best to avoid these all together during those nine months.

1. On Your Stomach

Though this position is a fan favorite, for obvious reasons, it’s a “no-go” for expecting mothers. Applying your body weight on your growing abdomen is not only risky but will even show to be impossible as your belly continues to expand. As soon as you learn you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid sleeping on your stomach even if you’re not showing a great deal. Some articles show that you can continue sleeping on your stomach if you place a donut pillow under your stomach and rest most of the pressure in the centre. If you’re adamant about sleeping on your stomach, you can give this a try.

2. On Your Back

I hate to say it, but this position is just as bad if not worse than sleeping on your stomach in many cases.

There are an array of things that can go wrong by sleeping on your back during pregnancy, but the issues usually stem from the fact that the position encourages the entire weight of your growing uterus to push down on your intestines making it difficult to breathe and limiting oxygen flow to the baby as well.

If you have a bad back prior to pregnancy or have developed one in the early stages, it’s all the more reason to avoid sleeping on your back as it’ll add pressure to your spine.

What Position Is The Best To Sleep In?

If it is not recommended that you sleep on your back or stomach, by process of elimination, the best position to sleep in during pregnancy must be on your side. While that is correct, it is actually a bit more specific than that. Yes, snoozing on either side will work, but lying on your left side will be the most beneficial for both you and your baby.

Sleeping on the left side of your body takes the pressure off of your heart, making it easier for the inferior vena cava to transport blood back into the heart from the lower half of your body. This position makes way for the fetus to receive more nutrients and also takes the weight off of one of the body’s most vital organs – the liver.

Additional Tips For Restful Sleep

Lying on the left side of your body will undoubtedly solve an array of issues, however, you may still have trouble falling asleep and staying there. Here are a few tips that will help you overcome the other obstacles that may hinder your rest.

1. Invest in a pregnancy pillow. While there are different variations of full-body maternity pillows, all of them are designed to fit the curves of the body and support the growing belly. You will also notice drastic pain relief and become more relaxed through the night.

2. Use a pregnancy wedge. A wedge is another form of a pregnancy pillow, however, it doesn’t contour the entire body, it is used to support the belly and back instead. A useful alternative, though rarely as effective, would be to place a normal soft pillow under your abdomen region.

3. Prop a pillow between your legs. When your body isn’t level, it can begin to ache. Placing a cushion between your legs can alleviate this pain.

4. Stay active. Simply taking a 30-minute walk every day or engaging in pregnancy yoga or dance will keep your hormones balanced (which will ward off insomnia) and will aid your body to sleep naturally.

5. Drink chamomile tea. While you should be careful when consuming certain herbs while pregnant, chamomile tea is one that is safe to be consumed. This herb has sedative effects that will help to combat insomnia.

Don’t stress out about staying on your left side the entire night. It is natural for us to shift positions while sleeping without realizing it. The truth is, it matters the most what position you fall asleep in. This is because you will usually be awakened by discomfort once you spend too much time on your back or stomach anyways.

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