How to sleep in pregnancy

how to sleep in pregnancy, sleep position when pregnant, when to stop sleeping on your back when pregnant
Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation, and, let’s be honest, a few challenges. One of these challenges is navigating good sleep, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
 
In this blog we’ll share tips on how to sleep well, and safely, during pregnancy.

Sleep positions in pregnancy

As your pregnancy advances, the position in which you sleep becomes important, particularly in the third trimester.

Research has shown a correlation between sleeping on your back in the third trimester and an increased risk of stillbirth. For this reason, experts recommend sleeping on your side to minimise this risk. This recommendation applies not only to nighttime sleep but also to daytime naps.

What if I wake up and I've been sleeping on my back while pregnant?

It’s natural to worry about inadvertently ending up on your back during sleep, especially if you’re used to sleeping in various positions.

However, the focus of research has primarily been on sleep position when we first fall asleep, rather than throughout the night. If you wake up on your back, simply readjust to sleeping on your side.

Additionally, the discomfort caused by a growing bump often acts as a natural deterrent from moving onto our backs to sleep.

Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months

Our award-winning course will help you build great foundations for sleep. So you and your baby can sleep better and enjoy these early days together!

Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months

Our award-winning course will help you build great foundations for sleep. So you and your baby can sleep better and enjoy these early days together!

Which side should I sleep on during pregnancy?

While some sources advocate for sleeping specifically on your left side, the evidence supporting this recommendation is not conclusive.

One study in New Zealand, suggested a lower risk of stillbirth associated with left-side sleeping, but this finding has not been consistently replicated in other research.

Ultimately, the decision to sleep on your left or right side sleeping may just come down to yoor own personal preference

Tips for sleeping comfortably on your side in pregnancy...

Getting comfortable in a side sleeping position can be challenging, especially for those experiencing Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Here are some practical tips:
 
  • Use pillows to support your bump and legs, maintaining a level leg position to alleviate discomfort.
  • Experiment with different pillow arrangements, such as placing a pillow behind your back or between your legs.
  • Consider seeking a referral for physiotherapy to address PGP symptoms and optimize sleep comfort. A chiropractor or osteopath who is experienced in pregnancy may also be helpful. 
 
In addition to sleep position, incorporating good sleep habits can contribute to better overall sleep quality during pregnancy. Hopefully these tips can help:
 
  • Try some moderate exercise and outdoor activities during the day to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, before bedtime to calm the mind and body.
  • Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening,  (we should be limiting caffeine during pregnancy anyway to no more than 200mg per day) .
  • Have a regular bedtime routine, including avoiding heavy meals, staying hydrated, and keep your room cool, and use cotton breathable bedding. 

Further support for sleep during pregnancy:

If you ever have any concerns about sleep or anything else related to your pregnancy, always consult your midwife or medical team. The Pelvic Partnership also offer support and information about Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Tommy’s is also a fantastic resource you can refer to.

Foundations of Sleep Course: 0-5 Months