Sleep and Pregnancy

Sleep and pregnancy often have trouble occurring together. You may find it difficult to fall asleep now that you are pregnant. As you look to get your sleep and pregnancy interferes, you will be glad to know that there are things you can do to make a difference. There are a few different factors that contribute to the discomfort and challenges you experience with trying to get your rest.

Why does my normal position not work with sleep and pregnancy?

With the onset of pregnancy, you will quickly notice that your body is changing. The changes your body is going through will probably disrupt your your normal sleep. Reasons may include:

  • Increased size of abdomen
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia

What are the best sleep and pregnancy positions?

The best pregnancy and sleep position is on your side. Ideally, you will actually sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will make it easier for the blood and nutrients cross the placenta and get to your baby. You may find that a pillow will provide support and make it easier to keep your legs and knees bent.

Are there any tips for sleep and pregnancy challenges?

Trouble with sleep and pregnancy can be related to a variety of factors. It may be that you need to address other factors in order to get sleep during your pregnancy. Here are some tips for helping address factors that affect your pregnancy sleep:

  • If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
  • If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
  • In late pregnancy you may experience shortness of breath; try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out and you may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night and rotating positions is fine.

What pregnancy sleep positions should I avoid?

Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava).

Sleeping on your stomach: When you are farther along in your pregnancy, your abdomen undergoes physical changes and makes it more difficult for you to lay on your stomach.

Last Updated: 09/2008

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Nemours Foundation, http//

Your Pregnancy Week by Week Fifth Ed. Curtis, Glade B., OB/GYN, et al. Week 16.

American Pregnany Association,

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