sleeping on your back during pregnancy

When Should I Stop Sleeping on My Stomach During Pregnancy?


sleeping at your back during pregnancy

Many people find sleeping on their stomach incredibly comfortable. There’s something so comforting about sinking gently into your mattress, isn't there? It often helps us drift off into a peaceful sleep. But when you're pregnant, this favorite sleep position can suddenly seem less ideal. Your body is going through so many changes, and what was once comfy can start to feel quite the opposite.

In this guide, we're going to look closely at what it means to sleep on your stomach during pregnancy. We'll address your concerns and offer insights on how your sleep habits might need to adapt.

Together, we’ll explore the bodily changes that affect your sleep and introduce alternative positions that keep both you and your baby safe. We’ve got all the info you need to navigate sleep during this special time. Ready to get started?

The Dangers of Stomach Sleeping During Pregnancy

Lying on your stomach gets riskier as your belly expands — no matter how cozy it may be. This position can squeeze your uterus, making you and the baby uncomfortable. It can even pinch the blood flow, which your baby relies on for oxygen and nutrients.

Plus, the extra weight could strain your back and spine, leading to muscle tension and pain. Understanding these risks will help you realize why moving to a safer sleeping position is so important as you progress in your pregnancy.

The Best Sleeping Positions for Pregnant Women

When it comes to sleeping positions during pregnancy, side sleeping is widely considered as the first choice. This position helps improve blood circulation, reduces the risk of complications, and provides support to your baby and uterus.

sleeping on the left side during pregnancy

Side sleeping, particularly on your left side, is recommended by healthcare professionals as it facilitates optimal blood flow to the placenta and promotes better oxygenation for your baby. Sleeping on your left side also helps ease pressure on your back and internal organs, allowing for better digestion and kidney function.

If you find it challenging to maintain this position throughout the night, don't worry— we have some helpful tips to make side sleeping more comfortable for you.

Tips for Comfortable Side Sleeping During Pregnancy

Transitioning to side sleeping can be an adjustment, especially if you've been a stomach sleeper for most of your life. Here are some tips to help you make the switch and ensure a comfortable night's sleep:

  • Invest in a pregnancy pillow: Maternity pillows are specifically designed to provide support and comfort during pregnancy. They come in various shapes and sizes, with some even allowing you to wrap your legs around them. Experiment with different types of pregnancy pillows to find the one that suits your needs and preferences.

pregnant woman using more pillows for support during pregnancy
  • Use additional pillows for support: If you don't have a pregnancy pillow, regular pillows can also be used to support your belly and back while side sleeping. Place a pillow between your knees and another under your belly to ease pressure and maintain proper alignment.

  • Adjust your mattress: Consider investing in a mattress that provides adequate support for side sleeping. A medium-firm mattress can help alleviate pressure points and provide better spinal alignment, ensuring a more comfortable night's sleep.

Using Pregnancy Pillows to Support Side Sleeping

Pregnancy pillows can be a game-changer when it comes to finding comfort while side sleeping during pregnancy. These specially designed pillows provide support to your belly, back, and legs, helping you maintain a comfortable and safe sleeping position.

There are different types of pregnancy pillows available including:

  • C-Shaped Pillow. Wraps around your body to offer comprehensive support for your head, neck, back, and legs, ensuring all-around comfort.
  • U-Shaped Pillow. Provides dual-sided support, allowing you to rest comfortably with your head on the curve while it cradles both sides of your body.
  • Wedge Pillow. Specifically designed to fit under your belly, this pillow provides targeted support, helping to relieve pressure and improve your overall comfort.

Experiment with different pregnancy pillow options to find the one that works best for you. Some women find that a combination of pillows, such as a wedge pillow under the belly and a regular pillow between the knees, provides the necessary support for a restful night's sleep.

Common Challenges and Solutions for Changing Sleeping Positions

Switching from stomach sleeping to side sleeping might come with its hurdles, especially if you've always slept a certain way. Here’s how you can address some typical issues:

  • Discomfort or Pain. If side sleeping is causing discomfort, using additional pillows can provide extra support and lessen the pressure on your belly and back. A pregnancy pillow is particularly effective at making you more comfortable.

pregnant woman cannot sleep during pregnancy

  • Restlessness or Difficulty Falling Asleep. A change in sleeping position can disrupt your normal sleep pattern. To improve your sleep quality, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, practice deep breathing exercises, and ensure your sleeping environment is tranquil and comfortable.

  • Finding the Right Position. It’s okay to try different side sleeping arrangements to see what feels best. Although sleeping on your left side is usually recommended for the best blood flow, the right side might be more comfortable for you. Just find what works and stick with it.

Be gentle with yourself during this adjustment period. It might take some time to discover the best sleeping setup that suits both you and your baby.

How Sleeping Positions Affect the Health of the Baby

Your choice of sleeping position can impact your baby's health. We mentioned earlier that lying on your back or stomach can compress the major blood vessels due to the weight of your uterus and growing baby, which restricts blood flow to the placenta.

Conversely, sleeping on your left side enhances blood flow and nutrient delivery to the placenta, supporting your baby's proper development and growth. It also reduces the risk of complications like stillbirth, low birth weight, and preterm labor.

Prioritizing side sleeping not only supports your comfort but also creates a healthier environment for your baby, promoting their overall well-being and minimizing potential health risks.

When to Transition from Stomach Sleeping to Side Sleeping

It's wise to start shifting from stomach sleeping to side sleeping as soon as you find out you're pregnant. While it may still feel comfortable to sleep on your stomach during the early stages, prioritizing your baby's health should lead you to make the switch sooner rather than later.


pregnant woman consulting healthcare provider

If you’re uncertain about when to begin this transition, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider for tailored advice and recommendations based on your specific situation.


Prioritizing Comfort and Safety During Pregnancy

Finding the right sleep position is crucial during your pregnancy, and Bupsy is here to help. While stomach sleeping may have been your go-to, it’s time to switch to side sleeping, especially on your left side. This position is safer for you and supports your growing baby much better.

Again, experiment with different pillows, or consider a pregnancy pillow to enhance your comfort. And always remember, we at Bupsy, recommends checking in with your healthcare provider to get advice that fits just right for your needs. 

Let’s say goodbye to stomach sleeping together and embrace the benefits of side sleeping!

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