The Best (and Worst) Positions to Sleep In While Pregnant


Think back to your first doctor’s visit when you realized you were pregnant. You were probably a mixture of excited, anxious, and let’s be honest, scared. And your doctor probably listed off everything you should be expecting and how to combat those pregnancy symptoms.

One of the top things your doctor should have prescribed was plenty of rest. Unfortunately, that is also one of the most common issues women battle with during pregnancy. And if you never had issues with sleep before, expect bouts of insomnia and restless nights in your near future.

According to a 2014 sleep study published by the Sleep Journal, three in four women experienced poor sleep quality during their pregnancy. And all of the 2,427 women surveyed reported frequent nighttime awakenings.

In addition to reports of restless legs syndrome(24%) and symptoms of insomnia(57%), almost 80% of the women surveyed stated they also had a difficult time finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Trying to find the perfect “sleep spot,” too? Read on for the best sleeping positions to alleviate pain and get a restful night’s sleep.

What is the Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the best sleep position is sleeping on your side(think SOS). Even better, they recommend sleeping on your left side to “increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.”

Not used to sleeping on your side or experiencing other symptoms like back pain? Follow these smart tips:

  • Ease into the position by keeping your legs and knees bent and put a pillow between your legs.
  • Add a pillow under your abdomen if you are experiencing back pain.
  • Heartburn? Prop your upper body with pillows.
  • If you’re feeling short of breath, try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

This position may feel uncomfortable at first especially if you’re used to sleeping on your back or stomach. Give it a try though and adjust throughout the night.

What Sleeping Positions Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

There are two sleeping positions that WebMD suggests avoiding while pregnant:

Sleeping on your back: In this position, your abdomen rests on your intestines and major blood vessels. As a result, this position can make an array of problems worse such as breathing, back pain, and digestion. Sleeping on your back can also cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. Yikes!

Sleeping on your stomach: It’s also best to avoid lying face down because your stomach presses on your uterus and breasts. You would probably feel very uncomfortable trying to sleep in this position even if you wanted to.

Sleep Guidelines All Pregnant Women Should Follow

What to Expect, a great online source for parents, suggests following these sound sleep tips to ensure your future baby’s health:

  • Skip all forms of caffeine.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
  • Eat a light night snack before bed if you’re hungry.
  • Relax with a warm bath before bed.
  • Get some fresh air.
  • Try some relaxation practices such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.
  • Add in some daytime naps if you’re especially tired early in the day.

And if you just can’t seem to fall asleep, don’t force yourself. Get up and read a book, write in your journal, or knit something for you baby.


Have any other sound sleep tips that have worked for you during pregnancy? Share with us in the comment section!