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Side-Sleeping and Pregnancy

How to Sleep Soundly During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, so many things change that it’s hard to keep up. While most women plan to lose sleep once their baby is born, many women underestimate how much their sleeping habits will change during the pregnancy. As your abdomen grows and back pain kicks in, you’ll likely find that sleeping on your back and stomach are no longer real options. Let’s review the benefits of side sleeping during pregnancy.

Why Side Sleeping is The Best Sleep Position for Pregnancy

Pretty pregnant sleeping peacefully in bed

Pretty pregnant sleeping peacefully in bed

Are you a stomach sleeper? As your baby begins to grow, unfortunately sleeping on your stomach will become more and more difficult until it becomes physically impossible.

Back sleeper? As your baby develops even further, most doctors caution that sleeping on your back every night could actually harm the baby. It should be noted that there’s still ongoing research and debate about back-sleeping during pregnancy and the extent to which it can harm you or the fetus, but one conclusive fact across the board is this: it’s not worth taking the risk.

As you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus rests on your intestines and blood vessels, so the return of blood to your heart slows down. In turn, this reduces blood-flow to the fetus. Sleeping on your back can also cause digestive problems, breathing problems, and can actually increase your back aches – remember, the weight can reach your spine too. Finally, many pregnant women develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea as their baby (and body grows); staying off your back is one crucial component of mitigating this problem, too.

While occasionally lying on your back is unlikely to do any harm, sleeping on your side is highly recommended as the general position you strive for each night – and as a bonus, it tends to be the most comfortable position for pregnant women!

Sleeping on your side while pregnant also offers advantages to your fetus. While many experts recommend specifically sleeping on your left side, others say the science shows it really does not matter which side you sleep on. Whichever side you choose, side-sleeping increases circulation and blood flow, therefore increasing the amount of blood and nutrients that can reach your baby. The main difference between sleeping on your left side and right side is that lying on your left side prevents your expanding body from pushing down on your liver.

Side-Sleep Positioning Tips

For women who are used to sleeping on their back or stomach, transitioning to side-sleeping can be difficult. To get more comfortable and fall asleep faster, there are a few tried and true methods you can test out for yourself:

  • Placing a pillow under your back or between your knees can provide more back support and help you stay on your side.
  • If you experience difficulty breathing, placing a pillow under your side will raise your chest and should make it easier to breathe.
  • If you experience heartburn, try to sleep more at an angle by propping your bed up or using an additional pillow.

Some women find side-sleeping impossible and simply give up the bed during pregnancy. Sleeping in a reclining chair is a common solution and is also perfectly acceptable. After clearing it with your doctor, using the Rest Rite Sleep Positioner is also an excellent choice! The one-time use, extremely affordable, and uber-subtle sleep positioner gently encourages side sleeping and stays affixed to your back throughout the night, but can be easily removed come morning. So talk to your doctor and try Rest Rite today, a perfectly natural, comfortable and drug-free way to make sure you and your baby get the most restful, healthiest sleep you can get!