Can I sleep on my back during pregnancy?

Getting those all-important zzz’s during pregnancy can be difficult, especially if you’re struggling to find a comfy position to sleep in. Here’s help.


Finding a comfortable sleeping position as your baby bump grows can be quite challenging. “I have always slept on my tummy so I found it difficult to find a comfy position to sleep in while pregnant. And as my tummy grew bigger, it became more of a challenge. I have now resorted to using pillows to help me get comfortable,” says Jocelyn Rivers who is 31 weeks pregnant.

Why sleeping on your back is not recommended

Experts recommend that pregnant women avoid sleeping on their backs during the second and third trimesters. “When you lie on your back, the weight of the pregnant uterus slows the return of blood to your heart, which reduces blood flow to the foetus,” explains an obstetrician and gynaecologist on WebMD. That means that your baby is getting less oxygen and fewer nutrients.

Don’t stress too much about accidentally rolling over onto your back in your sleep. Sleeping on your back every now and again won’t harm your baby, but you shouldn’t be doing it every night.

“I heard that sleeping on your back while pregnant was not good for the baby. However, my gynae assured me that it’s ok if I happen to roll over onto my back while I sleep – as long as I’m getting enough rest. He also said that baby will let me know if she is uncomfortable, hence waking me up to move,” says Jocelyn.

ALSO SEE: How to get more sleep during pregnancy

How should you sleep during pregnancy?

Sleeping on your side is your only option. According to What to Expect, it doesn’t really matter which side you choose, however, the left side might be better. “The left side allows for maximum blood flow (less pressure on the vena cava) and could reduce swelling in the legs.”

Use pillows for support to get comfortable. “I currently sleep on my side, with a pillow between my legs and if I happen to turn over, instead of taking my leg pillow with, I have another one placed there to fill the gap. Having a pillow behind me also helps support and cushion my back, and I find my backache is not so bad,” says Jocelyn.

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