pregnant woman sleeping on her back while holding her baby belly

Finding the Right Sleep Position: Is Back Sleeping Safe During Pregnancy?

Going through pregnancy can feel like a full-time job, especially when it comes to getting a good night's sleep! A common worry I hear a lot from moms-to-be is whether it's safe to sleep on your back while pregnant. Let's unpack this together, so you can rest as comfortably as possible during these precious months.

Why You Might Reconsider Sleeping on Your Back While Pregnant

In early pregnancy, you can pretty much snooze in any position without a worry.  Well, as your baby gets bigger and your belly grows, things start to change a bit. Here’s the thing: sleeping on your back can actually put a lot of pressure on a very important vein called the inferior vena cava.

This vein helps pump blood from your lower body back up to your heart. When it's pressed on by your growing uterus, it can make blood flow a bit sluggish. This might leave you feeling a bit dizzy or nauseous, or even cause you to sweat more at night.

Think of it like lying on a garden hose; if you put too much pressure on it, the water can't flow properly. Same thing happens with your blood flow if you sleep on your back when you're further along in your pregnancy.

When to Stop Sleeping on Your Back While Pregnant

As you glide into your second trimester, it's a good idea to start training yourself to sleep on your side. By the time you're around 20 weeks, with your belly getting bigger, it’s not just more comfortable but also safer to switch up your sleeping position.

pregnant woman sleeping on her back while holding her baby bump

Side-sleeping is like giving your body and your baby a little extra love, making sure everything's running smoothly blood-wise. And if you find the switch tricky, think about investing in some maternity pillow. They can be game changers in keeping you snug and in place all night long!

Risks of Sleeping on Your Back While Pregnant

Now, let's talk about the risks of sleeping on your back while pregnant. It’s not just about minor discomforts. Lying on your back can lead to some bigger issues, like your heart rate slowing down or your blood pressure dropping.

This can make you feel quite light-headed. Plus, with the extra weight on your back, you might also end up with more backaches, or even heartburn and indigestion, since your belly is squishing your intestines and stomach.

Imagine a night when you’ve had a bit too much dinner and then tried to lie flat —uncomfortable, right? It’s a bit like that.


Helpful Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

  • Pillows are your pals: Setting up some pillow support can make a world of difference. Tuck one between your knees and maybe another behind your back or under your bump. It’s all about creating that perfect nest.

  • Switch it up gently: If you do roll onto your back, no worries — just roll on back to your side. Keeping a pillow fortress might help prevent you from turning back over.

a person sleeping in bed with their eyes closed


  • Wind down well: Creating a soothing bedtime routine can really help. Maybe some gentle stretching, a warm bath, or a calm book. It sets the scene for a peaceful night on your side.

  • Stay cool: Pregnancy can crank up your body heat, making you feel warmer than usual, especially at night. Keep your bedroom cool and consider using breathable, natural fabrics for your bedding and nightwear. This can help prevent you from overheating and make side-sleeping more comfortable.

  • Mind your meals: Eating a big meal right before bed can make it harder to get comfortable. It can also increase the likelihood of heartburn, which can be worse when you’re lying down. Try to keep your dinners light and eat them at least a couple of hours before bedtime. If you need a snack closer to bed, opt for something small and bland that won’t stir up your stomach.

Your Sleep Hygiene During Pregnancy

We mention above that getting good sleep is super important, especially now that you’re pregnant and your body’s working overtime! So, how do you make sure you're setting the stage for the best sleep possible? Here are some quick tips!

1. Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Think of your bedtime as your personal unwind time. Maybe take a warm bath to loosen up those achy muscles, or get lost in a good book. Playing some soft music can also work wonders. These little rituals tell your body, "Hey, it's time to relax and recharge."

2. Keeping Your Sleep Environment Peaceful

And about your bedroom—let's turn it into a real sleep haven. Keeping it dark with blackout curtains, quiet with a white noise machine, and cool with just the right temperature can make a huge difference. It’s all about creating the perfect setup so you can slip into dreamland smoothly and stay there till morning.

What if I Wake-up on My Back?

We all toss and turn a bit when we sleep. If you find yourself waking up on your back, just roll on over to your side again. There’s no need to worry if it’s just now and then.

To keep yourself from flipping to your back too often, you might want to build a little nest of pillows around you. Tuck one behind your back, another under your bump, and maybe even one between your knees.

This also helps keep your hips aligned and eases any pelvic or back discomfort you might be feeling.

Are There Specific Exercises That Can Improve Sleep During Pregnancy? 

Definitely! Staying active with gentle exercises can really smooth out your sleep at night. Prenatal yoga is a fantastic way to stretch out those achy parts and calm your mind, both of which can help you sleep better. Simple stretches that focus on your back, hips, and legs are great.


pregnant woman doing a yoga pose on a yoga mat

For example, Cat-Cow stretches are wonderful for easing back tension, while the Butterfly pose can help loosen up those tight hips. And if you want a super relaxing move, try lying with your legs up against a wall — it’s amazing for reducing swelling in your legs and improving circulation back to your heart.

Just remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise to make sure it’s safe for your pregnancy stage!

Sweet Dreams Await, Mommy!

As we've explored, setting up for a good night’s sleep during pregnancy is all about those small, comforting changes — from rearranging pillows to refining your bedtime routine.

Remember, each little adjustment is a step towards better rest for both you and your baby. So, cozy up, settle in, and here’s to many nights of peaceful, rejuvenating sleep. Sweet dreams from us here at Bupsy!


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