Pregnant? Why sleeping on your back may be bad for you!

by Staff writer

If you typically sleep on your back, it’s safe to continue doing so through the first trimester. But as your uterus gets heavier around mid-pregnancy, it’s best to choose another position.

After 16 weeks of pregnancy, sleeping on your back isn’t such a good idea, experts say.

For women in the third trimester of their pregnancy, lying down on their back may place stress on the fetus, which could increase the risk of stillbirth in certain cases, a small new study from New Zealand suggests.

“The supine position may be disadvantageous for fetal well-being and in compromised pregnancies, may be a sufficient stressor to contribute to fetal demise,” the researchers wrote in the 2016 issue of the The Journal of Physiology.

According to, when you lie belly-up, the weight of your uterus can compress a major blood vessel, called the vena cava, disrupting blood flow to your baby and leaving you nauseated, dizzy, and short of breath.

“The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side.”

Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side)

Some doctors recommend the left side over the right because the vena cava is located to right of your spine, so sleeping on your left side allows blood to flow more freely to your baby.

However, this shouldn’t make a big difference, and it’s more important that you pick whichever side feels better in.

If you need help adjusting to side-sleeping, try slipping pillows between your knees and under your belly to make it more comfortable.

Should you wake up on your back in the middle of the night, don’t freak out. Your body would let you know if your baby was in any real danger of not getting enough oxygen — you’d feel nauseated and breathless long before your baby would have a problem.

Simply roll to your side and try to fall back asleep.


DNB health articles are for informational purposes only, and should not serve as a complete substitute for a doctor’s advice.

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4 Comments on “Pregnant? Why sleeping on your back may be bad for you!”

  1. I rarely sleep on my back ordinarily but once am pregnant it becomes so appealing. I wonder why.

  2. Just hearing this now and I slept on my back all tru my pregnancy till I delivered.
    Thank God my boy was hale and hearty

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