One of the most common questions that expecting mothers ask is about the best and safest sleeping positions during pregnancy. Specifically, many wonder if it’s safe to sleep on their stomach. While most women find it uncomfortable to sleep this way as their belly grows, understanding the implications of various sleep positions is crucial.
In the early stages of pregnancy, it’s generally safe to sleep on your stomach. During the first trimester, the uterus is deep within the pelvis, offering protection to the embryo. However, as the baby grows and the uterus expands, lying flat on the stomach can become uncomfortable.
By the second trimester, most women prefer not to sleep on their stomach because of the obvious growth of their abdomen and the unease it causes. It’s not so much about safety concerns but more about comfort during sleep.
The side sleeping position is recommended for pregnant women, especially during the third trimester. While a study has shown that sleeping either on the right or the left side is fine, sleeping on the left side might be more beneficial. It allows for the best blood flow and nutrients to the placenta. It also aids in removing waste and fluids from your body. The liver is located on the right side of the abdomen, so sleeping on the left side keeps the uterus off that organ, reducing any potential pressure. Sleeping on the left side can also promote better kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in the hands, ankles, and feet.
If you’re someone who naturally gravitates towards stomach sleeping and are finding it hard to adjust, using pillows can be immensely helpful. A pregnancy pillow or even a regular pillow can be placed under one side of your belly to prop it up slightly. This semi-stomach sleeping position can often be more comfortable than completely lying on the side, especially for those accustomed to stomach sleeping.
The best advice often comes from your body itself. If a position feels uncomfortable or causes any pain, it’s a clear sign that you should adjust and find a new sleeping pose. As the pregnancy progresses, pressure on the bladder, heartburn, and shortness of breath can become issues, and the way you sleep might affect these symptoms.
While sleeping on the stomach isn’t particularly harmful, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, it might become uncomfortable as the pregnancy progresses. It’s essential to find a position that ensures both safety and comfort. The left-side position seems to be the favored recommendation, but always consult with your OBGYN or midwife about any concerns. Ultimately, listening to your body’s signals is the best way to ensure a restful night’s sleep.
American Pregnancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/sleeping-positions-while-pregnant/
Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleeping-positions