Learning the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman is vital for both mom and baby. Sleep during pregnancy is critical as a mother’s body works to create a new life! Keep reading to learn the best sleep position for pregnancy.
Best sleep position during pregnancy
Generally speaking, the best sleep position for a pregnant woman is lying on the left side. Why is this the case? It’s because there is a large blood vessel that runs up the right side of the spine. This blood vessel is called the inferior vena cava. Its job is to circulate blood to mom’s heart! Sleeping on your left side ensures that this vessel is not compressed by baby and will keep that blood flowing.
Another reason lying on the left side is considered the best sleeping position for a pregnant woman is because it may help decrease swelling. Left side lying can decrease swelling by relieving pressure off of the liver and the kidneys. This is especially the best sleeping position in the third trimester as baby is growing rapidly and due to its growing size, can more easily compress mom’s organs.
Don't forget this crucial component!
There is another important component to sleep positioning while pregnant! Simply lying on your left side is good, but when you add slight elevation, you not only combat acid reflux (which almost all mothers face during pregnancy) but you improve circulation throughout your body!
When a mom uses a memory foam, contoured, incline pillow to sleep, she supports her lower back and hips, positions her stomach and esophagus strategically to avoid reflux, and improves full body circulation. Adding a leg separator pillow is key to support her hips, back, knees, and ankles. It's also an important component to avoid common maternal sleep complications like SI joint pain, hip bursitis or IT Band syndrome.
What if a mom just can’t sleep on her side? Do not worry. There is a safe way to sleep on your back while pregnant. Use a 12” triangle foam wedge pillow to support your upper body in a position safe for baby and comfortable for mom. Then, elevate your legs on a knee wedge pillow to prevent sliding off your foam wedge pillow and to increase circulation throughout your lower body.
As always, check with your OBGYN or midwife if you have any concerns regarding sleeping while pregnant.
The best sleeping position for a pregnant woman is the key to a well-rested mom. Mom’s bodies are working hard to grow healthy babies, and they deserve a comfortable night’s sleep!
Hillary Blare- Doctor of Physical Therapy