With all of the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, it can be hard to remember it all. If you are feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time remembering what’s “technically safe,” it’s okay; we got you.
At HATCH, know how real mom-brain is, and we’re here to refresh your memory or tell you for the first time what the whole buzz about laying on your back during pregnancy is all about.
Laying whichever way you please for a good night’s sleep is one of those luxuries you didn’t know you had when you weren’t pregnant. If you were a stomach sleeper, we know how hard it must be to find a new comfortable position to fall asleep.
But let’s talk about sleeping on your back during pregnancy. Why is it not recommended, and how long are you able to lay on your back before it becomes unsafe? Let’s talk all about it and how to get the best sleep during pregnancy possible!
Why You Don’t Want To Sleep on Your Back
Sleeping on your back has been shown to be okay during your first trimester. However, you may want to get used to other sleeping positions once you get into your second and third trimesters.
As your uterus grows and gets bigger during fetal growth and gestation, it begins to take up more space and puts pressure on other organs. In addition, sleeping on your back can cause problems if you deal with backaches or sleep apnea.
How To Avoid Sleeping on Your Back During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women cannot sleep through the whole night as it is — your bladder seems to shrink when you’re pregnant, which means extra-frequent trips to the bathroom. However, if you’re having extra trouble falling asleep while sleeping on your back, your body could be saying, “Hey, I don’t like this feeling. Please adjust.”
Getting enough sleep while pregnant is a big deal — you already know that from experience. If you wake up feeling groggy and exhausted, try one of the sleeping positions that we’ll cover later in this post. You might get better rest and feel more comfortable overall.
There are also things you can do to prevent rolling on your back while you sleep. If you’re trying to avoid sleeping on your back while pregnant, you can try putting pillows behind you to maintain your ideal sleeping position. Alternatively, you can tie your hair into a bun or ponytail if your luscious locks are getting in the way of your beauty sleep.
So if you are entering your second trimester, around 14 weeks of pregnancy, then you know it’s time to get used to sleeping in other positions if you haven’t already.
What Sleeping Positions Are the Best?
If sleeping on your stomach and back isn’t the way to go, that leaves you with your left side and your right side. Though these are the best sleeping positions, OB/GYNs usually advise your left side as the optimal choice.
Your inferior vena cava is located on the right side of your body, so sleeping on the right might put excess pressure on that particular blood vessel. However, it’s been shown that either side is safe to sleep on. You do you, mama.
If you’re lying down and start to get uncomfortable, light-headed, nauseous, or dizzy, it could be your body’s way of asking you to move to a different position or sit up. If this continues to occur and you are not lying on your back, contact your healthcare provider to get their take.
We know it can be hard to get used to, from many years to sleeping on your stomach or back to all of a sudden not at all. Amidst all of the other changes you’ve been going through, having to adjust to it can feel frustrating, but remember, it will only last until the end of pregnancy. As soon as that precious baby is born, you can go right back to what’s most comfortable for you.
How Long Can You Lay on Your Back When Pregnant?
Studies have shown that it is okay to lay on your back for short periods of time, possibly a couple of hours, but there is no hard and fast rule from scientists quite yet. The best way to rule out what is okay and not okay is to listen to your body.
If you are awake and laying on your back and begin not feeling good, that’s your signal to move over and try another position. If you’ve been laying on your back and notice it’s been a few hours, try to get up and walk around to get the blood flowing more before you lay back down.
How To Get Comfortable and Support Your Body
If you are a dedicated tummy or back sleeper, then it might be a challenge to get comfortable falling asleep in other sleeping positions. Luckily, there are special techniques to help yourself feel more comfortable and get used to another sleeping position.
Ah… the well-talked-about pregnancy pillow. Sometimes it just takes trying it for yourself to understand the hype. Although it may not be for everyone, many expecting mamas have a lot of great things to say about these body pillows designed for pregnant women.
If you find yourself continually flipping over to your back, there are pregnancy pillows designed to go around your whole body while you sleep on your side. This supports every part of you and keeps you from accidentally flipping on your back. We all need extra support sometimes, including our backs!
Pregnancy pillows also are great for propping your legs up on or between your knees to support the hips. Sometimes, especially during pregnancy, when you sleep with your knees together, they can put extra pressure on your hips, causing lower back pain. These pillows are great for taking pressure off sore areas.
They’re also great for supporting your growing bump as the weight of your uterus can become uncomfortable. With multiple different shapes and sizes, you can find the perfect one for you that makes side sleeping a dream come true.
Place a Pillow Against Your Back
If you decide a pregnancy pillow is not for you and want to prevent rolling onto your back, try placing a pillow (the longer and fluffier, the better) against your back. This is great if you want to support your back but don’t want a large pillow around the rest of your body.
Plus, if you share your bed with a partner or a pet, this is a handy way to conserve valuable bed real estate.
As your pregnancy progresses and your bump gets bigger, it makes sleeping on your stomach just about impossible. Thankfully, there is another form of pregnancy pillow. Allow us to introduce the donut pillow. It’s designed with a hole in the middle for your bump to go; stomach sleepers rejoice!
Taking the weight off your stomach, you can lay comfortably on your stomach again and not have to worry about rolling over.
The Perfect PJs
Maternity sleepwear is a must for every expecting mama. Your tried-and-true college sweatshirt has been with you through everything, but it might need to stay in the drawer for the next few months. It’s time for a better-fitting, more luxurious option.
One of the simplest ways to get a better night’s sleep while pregnant is to wear comfy PJs designed with you in mind. From our cozy nightgowns to our jersey nursing tees, we’ve got everything you need to make the sleepwear wardrobe of your dreams.
Try Some PM Self-Care
Another easy tip to get better sleep while pregnant is to practice nighttime self-care — and we’re here to help you do it. Make it a routine to care for your legs and feet before bed with a cooling cream right after a skin-softening bath. Every mama deserves a little pampering, especially you.
Time To Get Comfortable
Getting to your due date without sleeping on your back can be hard, particularly if that was your go-to sleeping position. Although it may feel like forever, your baby will be here before you know it, and you’ll be able to sleep however you want again (well, in between the baby crying five times a night, of course).
In the meantime, take a bath, put on some luxurious pajamas, and get comfy with your favorite show and late-night craving. It’s important that you take care of YOU and get as much relaxation time as possible. If you have other kids, take that time after they go to bed to really pamper yourself and enjoy winding down time. You’ve got this!