Unlocking the Secrets of Ideal Sleeping Positions While Pregnant

sleeping position while pregnant

Sleep. Like so many topics in pregnancy, this is one that comes loaded with advice! All it takes is a quick Google search to see link after link telling us one thing: if you’re pregnant, stop sleeping on your back. Many people hear this advice and immediately attempt to change their sleeping positions while pregnant, wake up on their back, and then stress that they’re harming their baby. At Body Ready Method, we know that it’s more nuanced than that! So what is a preggie to do? What actually is the best sleeping position for pregnant people?

Here at Body Ready Method, we believe that consistent, high quality sleep will support you in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. To achieve this sleep, we can focus on 3 key pieces:

  1. Properly support your body during sleep
  2. Address pregnancy discomforts that can impact sleep quality
  3. Set yourself up for success before going to sleep

Best Position to Sleep While Pregnant

Common advice tells us to immediately get off our back while sleeping. We do not agree with this fear-based approach. As your baby grows, some people will experience what’s known as Supine Hypotensive Disorder. When this happens, you may feel dizzy, nauseous, lightheaded, or short of breath while laying on your back. Your body will tell you with these signs to get off your back. As such, if you are experiencing supine hypotension, sleeping on your back will naturally no longer be comfortable!

So what is the best sleeping position for pregnant people? We believe it’s one in which your body is well supported, and you feel comfortable.

A semi-reclined sleep position may work well for you if you’re used to sleeping on your back and still feel comfortable semi-reclined, if you’re experiencing heartburn or nausea, or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

pregnant woman lying on her bed

As the pregnancy progresses, the most common and comfortable sleeping position while pregnant is on the side. This is where proper bolstering and body support can make a huge difference! But with many pregnancy support pillows, there is uneven support from hips through ankles.

When our hips, knees, and ankles are in different planes, our bodies are twisted and unsupported, which can lead to an increase in discomfort such as SPD, pelvic pain, and hip pain. If we add pillows and bolsters so our hips, knees, and ankles are all in the same plane, the body will feel well supported and sleep may be easier. Bonus: this is a fantastic position to use in labor!

Address Pregnancy Discomforts

Heartburn, restless legs, and Charlie horses, oh my! Sometimes we want sleep, we need sleep, and our pregnant body just says no. Here are some tips for working through some common discomforts in order to optimize sleep and naturally find the most comfortable sleeping position while pregnant..

Try eating and drinking smaller amounts in the hours leading up to bed – no huge meals or guzzling a full water bottle right before bed. Another way to avoid heartburn is to practice 3-D rib breathing – learn more about that here.

pregnant girl exercises lying on her side pillow between knees

Ensure that you’re staying well hydrated during the day, try an epsom salt bath prior to bedtime, and think about adding magnesium to your routine. Magnesium has some great benefits during pregnancy, and can be taken orally as a supplement or applied topically as a lotion or oil.

Build in a sleep routine to set yourself up for success prior to sleep. Keep on reading for more!

Set Yourself Up for Success

One of the best ways to set yourself up for quality sleep is to practice healthy sleep hygiene: have a consistent routine prior to bed, turn off screens, and find movement during the day.

Sleep hygiene routines usually include 3 steps that happen every time you get ready for bed. They can be very simple, and help tell your body and brain that it’s time to transition to sleep mode. An example of a sleep routine may be:

  1. do a short movement flow
  2. have a cup of tea
  3. read a chapter in bed

Why Does Sleep Matter?

Sleep is one of our biggest and most basic needs! We all know that a poor night of sleep can make us feel out of sorts, but the effects of poor sleep can be more far-reaching than that. Poor sleep during pregnancy can lead to a weakened immune system, greater risk for high blood pressure, and less coordination. As you move into the postpartum phase, lack of sleep can lead to increased risk for postpartum mood disorder and decreased milk supply.

Another reason to prioritize sleep? Research has shown that those who have not gotten enough sleep perceived pain in labor to be stronger than those who had enough sleep! Wild, right?! But it is true! Quality sleep in the third trimester can set you up for success in postpartum, and helps to minimize pain during birth!

Final Takeaways:

  • Do not stress about your position while you’re sleeping – there is no “best” position to sleep while pregnant! The most important thing is getting quality sleep.
  • As the belly grows, the back will not be comfortable any longer for sleep. Try bolstering yourself to increase comfort in sleep.
  • Add in a consistent sleep routine, such as a pre-sleep movement flow.

FAQs

 

Is it dangerous to sleep on my back while pregnant?

Not necessarily. Some people experience Supine Hypotensive Disorder during pregnancy, causing discomfort while laying on the back. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or short of breath in this position, your body is signaling you to shift. If you remain comfortable, there may not be an immediate need to alter this position.

What is the best sleeping position during pregnancy?

The ideal position is one where your body is well supported and comfortable. Many find sleeping on their side with proper bolstering to support hips, knees, and ankles most comfortable, especially as the pregnancy progresses.

How can I address common sleep disturbances during pregnancy, such as heartburn or restless legs?

Consider eating and drinking smaller amounts before bed, ensuring you stay hydrated during the day, and possibly incorporating magnesium into your routine. For heartburn specifically, try practicing 3-D rib breathing.

How can I support my body while sleeping on my side during pregnancy?

Using pillows and bolsters to ensure that your hips, knees, and ankles are aligned in the same plane can prevent your body from twisting and increasing discomfort. This support can mitigate issues like SPD, pelvic pain, and hip pain, promoting better sleep.

Are there any specific sleep hygiene routines recommended for pregnant individuals?

A simple, consistent sleep routine might involve a short movement flow, enjoying a cup of tea, and reading a chapter in bed. These steps can signal to your body and mind that it’s time to transition into sleep mode.

Can I continue with a semi-reclined sleeping position during pregnancy?

Yes, a semi-reclined position may be suitable, especially if you’re accustomed to sleeping on your back and still find it comfortable. This position might also be helpful if you experience heartburn, nausea, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

How can poor sleep impact labor and the postpartum phase?

Lack of quality sleep during pregnancy has been associated with a heightened perception of pain during labor. In the postpartum phase, insufficient sleep might increase the risk for mood disorders and potentially affect milk supply.

Are you ready to rock your pregnancy with a free workout on us?

We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

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