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Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I've been reading that you shouldn't sleep on your back when you're pregnant, but even if I go to sleep on my side or stomach (yes, I do this too) I wake up on my back. How dangerous is this? Do I really need to do something to prevent it?

Re: I've been reading that you shouldn't sleep on your back when you're pregnant, but even if I go to sleep on my side or stomach (yes, I do this too) I wake up on my back. How dangerous is this? Do I really need to do something to prevent it?

The Bump Expert

I had the same problem when I was pregnant. Doctors recommend that you avoid sleeping on your back after your first trimester because it causes you to unintentionally focus your weight on a major vein that moves blood to the heart from your feet and legs, which in turn forces the heart to work harder. But doctors also tend to be quick to tell you not to worry about it if you wake up and find that you've rolled onto your back. Changing positions while you snooze is normal, and losing sleep over whether you're in the right position doesn't do anyone any good.

That said, it's recommended that you train yourself to sleep on your side -- ideally your left one because the position improves blood flow throughout your body, including to your uterus and fetus.

Using body and regular pillows as sleep props is a great way to help you get and stay as comfortable as possible during the coming months.

Erika Lenkert

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

Is the right side safe as well as left? I have tendonitis in my left hip and it is starting to hurt sleeping on the left. Any suggestions? THanks!

jc&cat |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

I have been catching cramps in my right arm and my left leg, which is screwing me on body positions right now.

LadyCheena |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

Yes, it is safe to sleep on your right side too. My doctor told me I'm okay on my back as long as I put a pillow under my right side to tilt my body. That's what I find most comfortable so that's what I do.

sneufeld |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

i sleep on my side, but when i wake up i feel like i have been doing sit ups all night, why does it feel so sore?

Khecht |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

when is sleep position important? i'm 7 weeks, should i be concerned yet? i'm a belly sleeper... are you suppose to avoid stomach sleeping just because it's uncomfortable or because it is actually bad?

njkitty |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

Good question njkitty. I was also wondering the same thing. I am 6 weeks now (and normally am a stomach sleeper) but now if I lay on my stomach or on my side, I feel a pressure in my belly and it feels uncomfortable. I think I can manage sleeping on my side a little easier than sleeping on my back (that just seems impossible for me), but I am still unsure of what is safest for my baby at this time.

tglezelis |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

I'm 9 weeks pregnant and find that if i lay on either side for more than 5 or 10 mins that i either get abdominal cramps or feel really nauseas, the only way i can sleep is on my back is this bad?

heva5 |

re: Q: Safe sleep position?

Is sleeping on your tummy during the first Trimester bad?

mandi1103 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I asked my on about this because i have a plate in my left shoulder and it is just too painful to lay onthe left and I kept hearing ":Oh you must be left lateral to sleep" His response - sleep however you are comfortable - as you get bigger you really can't lay on your belly so that is a moot point. You will find you will wake up on your back and it is not such a big deal. It is so much more impirtat to be comfortable and get good sleep than to worry about your position....

jorobkenne |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

My doctor told me sleeping on my stomach was not harmful to the baby but would eventually be too uncomfortable for me. She was right, by 13 or 14 weeks, it was too uncomfortable and even though I didn't have a big bump yet, it actually my stomach cramp in that position.

esander |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I started sleeping on my side as soon as me and my husband really started talking about having a baby. Little did i know that i was 3-4 weeks pregnant but that "training" things isnt't working because some night i get cramps on the left side and feel so much better laying on my right after that. im 15w5d and i try to sleep with pillows and whatever side feels the best (not on back or stomach) and in my ultrasounds the baby moves like crazy so i really don't think it matters

blackdollhouse66 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I slept on my stomach with a pillow propping me slightly to the side for most of my first pregnancy. As you tummy sleepers start to get bigger just experiment with what is most comfortable for you.

frostnoel |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

It is okay to sleep on your back during your first trimester. Once you are into your second and third trimesters you shouild focus sleeping on your left side, but if you wake up and you are on your back it's okay...just readjust yourself to your left side. I've noticed that proping myself with pillows helps keep me on my left side (as I am typically a stomach or back sleeper as well).

Momma2Be2010 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I'm 21w2d and right now I'm just sleeping however is comfy. I wake up 4-5 times a night and I do find myself ending up on my back but I just roll over and try to fall back to sleep! I am lucky though, even though my bump is definately there, I'm still able to sleep somewhat on my belly! I tried to train myself to sleep on my left side the same night I found out I was pregnant, but no matter what I do, there is no telling my brain that I have to sleep on that side! Good Luck ladies!!

avgkfg |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

Is anyone else waking up with pain in the hip area from sleeping on your side? I seem to wake up throughout the night with pain on the side I was sleeping on; sometimes the skin covering my hips is numb when I wake up too, and when the feeling comes back, the skin is really painful for several minutes.

mmaster |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I have the same problem my hips are so sore when I try and sleep on either side. I am 19w3d.

shoreta |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I get the pain in my right hip and especially the numbness in my thigh if I sleep on my right side. It's annoying and if I happen to be watching TV before bed and I'm aware or it, it prevents me from sleeping on that side. Annoying, but true... I'm 16w3d.

ckstokes |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

For the hip pain I would say that you could try getting a matress cover, or something to make your bed a little softer. I have a sleep number bed and that works wonders for the big belly and hip problem. I have a really wide pelvis as it is, over 45" at the hip, so the squish of a soft matress cover helps me. As for the pain on the side you're not sleeping on, I solved that problem with a pillow between my legs. I have a 2 year old and have been doing that since before she was born. I am also pregnant again now and continue to do that. For the most part it also helps me not roll around too much at night. I have a pregnancy pillow that is really nice, it's like a "c" shape but it's about 6 ft long. It curls around your shoulder, then you can prop your belly on the middle, and then it goes between your legs too. It's the best for when you're starting to show more and can't get comfortable!!

funnelcake_fashion |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

Yeah I just started sleeping on my side more and it definitely hurts my hips and back, I really like sleeping on my back so it's hard for me. I tried the pillow between the legs, it helps a little, but I find myself tossing and turning all night and unable to sleep well, I don't know how I'm gonna survive the next 6 months!

susie985 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

Like the rest of you I start out on my left or right side and wake up multiple times a night on my back. I'm 26w and I do get numbness and sometimes pain in my thigh and I knew it was definately something...I'm not a doctor but it is my body so I googled the issue and it seems there is a common thing in pregnacy called meralgia paresthetica where you get numbness, burning and/or pain in your outer thigh area...but seems nothing to be concerned about. It can be a little annoying but the rest of my pregnancy has been so good so I'm not complaining. I mentioned it to my doctor as well and he didn't seem concerned.

storpey329 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

This is definately a "sore" subject for me. I am 15wk2d and I have not been geting much rest at all. I typically am a back sleeper and now have been trying to sleep on either of my sides. Like everyone else this is not working. I toss and turn all night switching to which ever side that the hip isnt hurting at that moment. But by 3am they are both hurting and I just can not get comfortable at all. Also I find which ever side I'm sleeping on that arm goes completly numb from the shoulder down.

rpower08 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I am 17 weeks along, and between this website and others (as well as unsolicited advice) I tried sleeping on my side (I am a back sleeper). I had severe hip pain, and I ended up with a charlie horse in my left foot every morning. My husband had to sleep on the couch because I couldn't stop moving. I explained my woes to my doctor last week, and he basically told me to stop falling for all of the hype and to sleep on my back--if I'm not sleeping and rested, this is not good for the baby. Thank goodness my doctor is a realist, and I have been sleeping wonderfully ever since. I trust my doctor because he physically sees me, and he took what I said seriously, he didn't just brush me off. He was concerned with the charlie horse and gave me advice on what to eat/drink for that. Basically, don't listen to me or anyone but your doctor-he/she knows what's best for you!

yvonnetond |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I am a stomach sleeper since forever. When I started having back pain a few years ago I trained myself to sleep on my back. However since I have been pregnant I am sleeping on my stomach again. My OB said as long as I can be comfortable sleeping on my stomach then go for it. Baby is protected. She also said as I get bigger that will determine when I don't sleep on my stomach anymore. Sleeping on my side is fine but not the most comfortable for me. I am 28 weeks and still on my stomach but have noticed that I really have to have more room to kick out my leg so I am not flat on my belly, so I guess my OB was right and it is just a matter of time before I remain on my side. I do lay on my back occasionally, say laying on the couch watching TV, but it doesn't usually last for long because I am generally uncomfortable most of the time now.

longpour02@yahoo.com |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I found it easiest to sleep on my left side with a body pillow under both my legs and belly, and to have my bf sleep with his back against mine, so far it's the only way I've been able to sleep through the night. I'm 21 weeks.

DracoBunny |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I've been getting so frustrated with this because I try so hard to fall asleep on my left side, but the only way I am comfortable is on my back (21 wks, 1d). I feel so bad for always ending up on my back but if I sleep on my sides my hips are useless the next day and that doesn't do anybody any good!  Pregnancy Ticker

smm010108 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I too, try to sleep on my side and end upp on my back, but I do sleep between a body pillow and a regular pillow. I'm 23 weeks today, and the uncomfort comes from feeling my legs are so much heavier and my hips-butt are wider and fuller ~ack! The body pillow I use in the front of my body and between my knees and the regular pillow behind me wedging a little on my back in case I rollover. What I find uncomfortable is my neck-shoulders when I'm on the left side, as well as pain around my waist from the twist if I'm not properly aligned, it is so annoying and I feel I get a workout just getting ready for bed, my husband always comes in running asking if everything is ok or if anything happend from all the grunting! I also manage to still lay somewhat on my stomach with the body pillow, this just gives my left shoulder and neck a break and I get the most relaxing and deep sleep when I can do this.

olimpita |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

BODY PILLOW BODY PILLOW WHAT WOULD U DO WITHOUT MY BODY PILLOW! Not sleep i say that. I swear by it. I can comfortably sleep on my side with it between my legs of behind my back. My DH even throws his leg on it once in a while.

milynnt |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I have become fast friends with the couch. I miss my hubby, but allowing him to get a good night's sleep is more important than being in the same bed. I am 21wks and I move around like crazy. On the couch I am free to change positions without worrying about waking someone up. Plus, I can lay on my side and lean back on the back of the couch which alleviates the hip pain that I have when I am in the bed and on my side.

hollyinaz2 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

smm010108...I think your pregnancy week counter thingy might be just a wee bit inaccurate...

crymsonspyki |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I just ordered a pregnancy pillow yesterday! I am a tummy sleeper and big worrier! At 24 weeks (6 months), I am falling asleep on my left side and waking up throughout the night on my back or stomach, freaking out, and then trying to fall back asleep again all the while with the irrational worries that I have either squashed my baby girl or cut off her blood supply! I have googled it lots of time and asked my doctors, but I swear she kicks less on days that I woke up on my tummy! I will let you know how the prego pillow works, I have heard they are definitely worth it!

Gen1331 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

Add me to the ling list of women suffering on their sides. I'm a TOTAL back sleeper and we have a very firm mattress. The thing is I literally can't sleep on my back anymore since it starts hurting where the baby is and forces me to roll onto my numb, aching left hip. I've been trying to sleep propped up, but it's uncomfortable as well.

thehighwaygirl |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I've luckily always been a side sleeper. I have three pillows at my head so that if I'm congested (like I almost Alllllways am now, thank you hormones!) I can prop myself up more, or if I'm able to breathe freely, I can slide down more. I use one big feathery pillow between my legs and curl up in a ball. It helps, but sometimes my hip does hurt. So I'll just slowly switch to my right side and sleep that way a bit. It helps my lower back pain to keep a pillow there and my cat likes to prop himself up on my leg pillow and night. Keeps me warm! I'd recommend just playing around with pillows. I used to love a soft pillow for my head and since I got pregnant I stole my husband's extra firm pillow because I felt like I needed the extra support. It helped and I sleep pretty comfy most nights. Currently 19 weeks along and still loving my sleep time. Good luck ladies!

Nikki823 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

My doc says that there is really nothing you can do except try your best to sleep on your side and though left is preferable, it is unpractical to think that you can stay on the one side and never sleep on your back. That made me feel better because I am 33 weeks along and often wake up on my back holding my body pillow to my chest. I feel like a turtle.

kbgregoire |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

Is it alright to sleep in fetal position? I know sounds weird but I tend to sleep with my knees kinda to my stomach.

AshleaK91 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I wonder what year it was when it was decided/discovered that pregnant women should resist sleeping on back and right side. I wonder what happened to all the mommies and babies before that time?

Taraafc |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

When i sleep on my left side it actually cuts off circulation to my leg and arm which is a painful way to wake up to a completely numb thigh. SO i sleep mostly on my right side and sleeping on my back is still comfortable at 17w4d

ghores13 |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

When I sleep on my side I can feel the baby move more then any other way I lay or sit and it keeps me up at night sometimes, and I was told that its bad to sleep on your stomach cause it puts to much pressure on the baby. I wanted to talk to my doctor but the canceled my insurance and now i cant go to my doctor anymore. And if i lay on my back with the pillow under me to kinda tilt me i get this like stretching pain in my back and sides...

montanaraee |

Q&A: Safe sleeping positions while pregnant?

I was a side sleeper before the pregnancy, but I find now that my arms go numb when I sleep on my sides and it just hurts all over. I took Tylenol before bed yesterday night and it was the best sleep I've had in weeks.

ZephyrL |