Top Recommended Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy - Baby Chick
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Top Recommended Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Here are the three best sleeping positions to use during pregnancy to help you get comfortable and have a better night's sleep.

Updated May 6, 2024

by Nina Spears

The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Sleep can be difficult to get when you’re pregnant. You’re likely tossing and turning each night, trying to find a comfortable position. (That and getting up to pee every hour.) And if you’re like me, who usually sleeps on her stomach, your regular sleep positions don’t work during pregnancy. There are many reasons for these pregnancy discomforts you’re feeling while lying in bed. Like back pain, heartburn, your growing bump putting pressure on your bladder, and shortness of breath or lightheadedness.1 All these can cause pregnancy insomnia.1,2 Luckily, some sleeping positions can help you get the much-needed rest you desperately seek during pregnancy!

Most Recommended Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Here are the best sleeping positions to use during pregnancy:

1. Sleeping on Your Side

The best sleeping position during pregnancy is to be on your side. Preferably the left side.3 The reason is that lying on your left side releases pressure on your vena cava.4 This is a large vein running down the right lower side of your body that’s responsible for bringing all the unoxygenated blood from your lower extremities to your heart.5 Your vena cava is responsible for sending blood to your uterus, which increases the amount of blood, oxygen, and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.6 However, I don’t want you to lose any more sleep if you end up sleeping on your right side. You’re doing fine as long as you switch positions each night or even throughout the night (which I’m sure you are).

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
Images via Chelsea Renee Photography

When sleeping on your side, I’m a big advocate of finding a good pregnancy pillow that will keep you comfortable throughout the night. As you can see, when you’re lying on your left side, you can keep your legs and knees bent and put one side of the pregnancy pillow between your legs. I’ll demonstrate the other sleep positions with this pillow below.

2. Support on Your Back and Belly

The side-lying position is also helpful if you’re experiencing back pain when trying to sleep.7 I recommend putting a pillow behind your back for more support and tucking the side of the pregnancy pillow under your abdomen. This will help relieve some pressure off of your back.7

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick

The side-lying position can also help if you add more pillows between your legs. This will help open your pelvis and take the pressure off your lower back.8,9

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick

As you can see in the image above, I’ve crossed the two ends of the pregnancy pillow under my legs to help open my pelvis and relieve lower back pressure.

3. Sleeping Elevated

Tons of women suffer from heartburn during pregnancy.1 And during the night, it can really flare up. To help with this, you may want to try propping up your upper body. Elevating your upper body will help the acidity that builds up to stay down.10,11 Here are some different ways you can do that with a pregnancy pillow:

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick

This elevated position can also help if you’re experiencing shortness of breath or feeling lightheaded.12,13

The best part about having a good pregnancy pillow is that when you change your position in the middle of the night, you don’t have to rearrange your pillows every time. It’s one and done! As you can see from my demonstration here:

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick

A pregnancy pillow is also a great investment, even after you have a baby. There are tons of ways you can continue to use it! For instance:

how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick
how to get better sleep when you are pregnant, pregnancy sleep pillow, sleep positions during pregnancy, baby chick

Sleeping Positions To Avoid While Pregnant

It’s normal not to stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is okay.14 Just know that the two positions you should avoid during pregnancy are sleeping on your back and sleeping on your stomach.3,4,13,14 According to the American Pregnancy Association, when you sleep on your back, the weight of the baby on your back could cause problems with:14

  • Backaches
  • Breathing
  • Your digestive system
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Low blood pressure
  • Decreased circulation to your heart and baby

Likewise, sleeping on your stomach will apply too much body weight and pressure on your uterus and growing baby.15 Stay safe by sticking to the positions that I’ve listed above!

Improving Your Sleep During Pregnancy

The recommended pregnancy sleep positions I’ve mentioned may not sound comfortable, especially if you’re used to sleeping on your stomach or back. But I promise they will help! With proper positioning and a good pillow, your sleep will get better. Were there any sleep positions, pillows, or products that helped you sleep better while pregnant? We’d love to know! And cheers to better sleep!

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Nina Spears The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Nina is The Baby Chick® & Editor-in-Chief of Baby Chick®. She received her baby planning certification in early 2011 and began attending births that same year. Since then, Nina has… Read more

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