Safe and Comfortable Sleep Positions During Pregnancy

by Pregnancy.org Staff

Around the world, an estimated 7,200 babies are stillborn every day. Could sleeping on your side change this statistic? Maybe!

A New Zealand study found that moms who sleep on their left side had less risk of a stillbirth. Lucy Chappell of King's College in London says a forceful campaign urging pregnant women to sleep on their left side isn't called for yet but suggests more research.

Our Members Share Sleep Tips

Although sleeping on the left side might be the safer option, it may not be the most comfortable.

Laying on my side during pregnancy makes my hips hurt so bad that I want to cry? ~Angie Hicks aka Gaidensgirl

Ever notice as your belly gets bigger, so do the amounts of aches and pains? Our expecting moms share useful tips that help them get comfortable and steal a few winks. Let's see what they had to say!

Pillows, pillows and still more pillows: Left-side sleep position allows the best blood flow to your baby, uterus and kidneys. We've all heard, "Try sleeping on your side with one pillow under your knee and another under your belly..."

We call it the "tripod." You're on your side/tummy with one knee up and a body pillow under you. That's how I sleep and how I've slept through both of my previous pregnancies. ~Karen aka K_Lo

I have a body pillow and couldn't sleep without it. I have always used it, even when I wasn't pregnant. I would LOVE the try a pregnancy pillow but my body pillow works just fine for me. ~Amber aka brady_bunch_plus_one

This is our cheap-o solution. We moved my side of the bed up against the wall. Padding the wall up with pillows and using it to support my back while I lie on my side has been pretty awesome! ~Jasmine aka sweetsriracha

Move during the day. Regular exercise improves circulations which lessens or eliminates nighttime leg cramps. Some moms swear that stretches at bedtime end leg cramps. Others say extra calcium and potassium help. Try to fit your exercise routine in early in the day. Late night exercise releases adrenalin that might keep you awake.

Watch what you eat. Coffee and alcohol can keep you awake. Spicy or fatty foods might cause heartburn. Skipping your trigger foods contributes to happy snoozing. Do you wake up too early and ravenous? A well-balanced diet leaves you less prone to major nighttime "snack attacks."

Raise the head of the bed. Some moms-to-be find relief from heartburn by placing a pillow or two under the head of the bed or a lifter under the bed's feet.

Top your mattress with an egg-crate foam pad. The extra softness can help you sleep more comfortably if your hips hurt when you lie on your side.

Practice creating baby's bedtime routine. And try it out on yourself! A non-caffeinated drink, a warm, aromatic bath, a pleasant book and a shoulder massage from your partner should get you drifting off to sleep quickly.

We wish you happy and safe sleeping!

About the study: The New Zealand study was an observational study. Women who slept on their back or on their right side on the previous night (before stillbirth or interview) were more likely to experience a late stillbirth compared with women who slept on their left side. Do you hate getting up for those middle of the night bathroom trips? Here's a positive twist. The researchers found women who got up more than once to go to the bathroom were also at lower risk.

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