Sleeping on Back While Pregnant: Is It Safe? Can It Harm the Baby?

sleeping on back while pregnant

After the onset of pregnancy, the future mother has to significantly change her way of life. Some food products, alcohol, intense physical activity, stressful situations are now banned. Restrictions apply even to sleeping poses. Now the position of the woman’s body affects not only her own well-being, but also the condition of the fetus. It’s clear that you need to avoid pressure on the growing abdomen, but what about sleeping on back while pregnant?

In the first weeks of bearing the baby, the pelvic bones reliably protect the uterus. So, any position will not be harmful. But from a certain time, sleeping on back while pregnant, and even lying on the back, leads to squeezing of large vessels.

How to Sleep during Pregnancy?

A calm strong sleep during pregnancy is essential for a woman’s well-being. It helps to restore strength, emotional balance, and provides relaxation of organs and systems.

How to Sleep in the Early Stages of Pregnancy?

The onset of pregnancy in most women is accompanied by increased drowsiness. A woman wants to take a nap at any time of the day. This condition is considered normal. It is associated with changes in the hormonal background. Do not resist the desire to sleep. Keep in mind that sleep has a positive effect on the course of pregnancy. In the 1st trimester you can sleep in any comfortable for you pose: on the back, on the stomach, on the side. This does not affect the condition of the future mother and the baby. The uterus and the fetus are still very small in size and are covered by the bones of the small pelvis from all sides.

sleeping on back while pregnant. woman sleeping on the stomach

Many women cannot sleep on the stomach because of the increased sensitivity of the breast – the companion of the first trimester. Also, sometimes pregnant women can’t sleep on the back because the symptoms of toxicosis in this position are intensified.

How to Sleep in the Late Stages of Pregnancy?

By the beginning of the second trimester, one should already have a habit of sleeping on one side. Sleeping on the stomach becomes dangerous for the unborn child. Despite the fact that it is reliably protected by muscles and a fetal bladder, there is still a risk of injury. In addition, this pose creates pressure on the uterus, which can provoke hypertonia. In the third trimester, it is impossible to sleep on the abdomen for obvious reasons.

Sleeping on back while pregnant is also not recommended from the beginning of the 2nd trimester. The size of the fetus and the uterus constantly increase and begin to squeeze organs and vessels. There may be back pain and impaired intestinal function. But the most dangerous is the squeezing of the vena cava. This blood vessel is one of the largest in the body. It is responsible for the blood supply to the entire lower body. That’s why sleeping on back while pregnant is strictly prohibited in the 3rd trimester.

sleeping on back while pregnant. a pregnant woman lying on the back

The most correct and useful for health pose is sleeping on one side. Sleep in this position has a positive effect on the condition of the pregnant woman and the future child. Some doctors believe that the best option is to sleep on the left side. Thus, the fetus does not press on the liver, and normal blood circulation remains. But staying in one pose during the night is very difficult. As a result, numbness often develops. So, it is better to turn from one side to the other during sleep.

Transverse Presentation of the Baby

If a transverse presentation of the fetus is found, it is worth sleeping on the side to which the baby’s head is turned. This will help the child to quickly take the right position.

In later pregnancy, when choosing a comfortable pose, pillows are very helpful. There can be several pillows different in size or one special pregnancy pillow. These devices help to compensate for the inconveniences caused by the big belly.

Sleeping on Back while Pregnant: Why Is It Forbidden?

In the early stages, sleeping on back while pregnant is not dangerous and has no contraindications. But from the second trimester it is better to change the sleeping pose.

The fact is that when the weight and size of the baby and the uterus begins to increase actively, the pressure on the internal organs also increases. In particular, when the future mother lies on her back, the baby presses on the spine, the bladder, and, most importantly, on the lower vena cava.

This vein is one of the largest in the body. It ensures the outflow of blood from the lower limbs to the heart, and if it is squeezed, problems may arise.

sleeping on back while pregnant. backache during pregnancy

With pressure on the hollow vein, the future mother will start feeling dizzy, breathing will become more frequent. What’s more, it may darken in the eyes. Even loss of consciousness is possible. For a baby, the pressure on this vein threatens with insufficient intake of nutrients and, first of all, oxygen from the mother’s blood. It can cause intrauterine hypoxia – oxygen starvation. Hypoxia is quite dangerous for a baby. Because of it, defects in the formation of a child’s organism can occur.

Squeeze of the vena cava also threatens the future mother with varicose veins and may contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.

Other Complications

In addition, a woman may not get enough sleep by sleeping on back while pregnant due to pressure on the bladder. She will often have to wake up and run to the toilet because of frequent urge to urinate.

Also, sleeping on back while pregnant may lead to severe pain in the spine due to high pressure on it. What’s more, in such a position the baby creates a pressure on the kidneys, as well as on the liver and intestines.

Therefore, if you want to minimize the risk of the complications mentioned above, sleeping on back while pregnant should be avoided, even if it was your favorite and the only comfortable pose for sleeping before pregnancy.

What Sleeping Pose Is Good for a Pregnant Woman?

Obstetricians-gynecologists do not recommend future mothers resting on the back for a long time, both during the day and night sleep. Sleeping on back while pregnant is not only squeezing the vena cava. It is fraught with the appearance of pain in the back and increased pressure.

But don’t be afraid that unconsciously in a dream you can turn over on the back and lie like that for a long time. As a rule, by the end of pregnancy, women themselves begin to feel discomfort sleeping on back while pregnant. They are looking for a comfortable pose on the side. Doctors recommend future mothers the safest option of sleep – lying on the left side. It is also recommended to put a pillow between legs for comfort.

sleeping on back while pregnant. sleeping on the left side

If pregnancy proceeds without complications, then you can rest in any position, but change it from time to time. While sleeping this happens unconsciously. Women who gave birth often say that in a dream they turned and changed their poses because the baby was starting to move and thus signaled to the mother about the discomfort he/she is experiencing. That’s why the comfortable position of a woman in bed at night is determined by the location of the baby in the belly. Still, future mothers are recommended to teach themselves to sleep on the side. And what concerns sleeping on back while pregnant, it is not recommended. Especially in the third trimester.

Useful Tips for a Good Sleep during Pregnancy

A full recovery of strength during pregnancy is very important. The well-being of the baby fully depends on the well-being of the mother. To normalize sleep, it is worth following several recommendations:

  • ventilate the room before going to bed;
  • regularly change bed linen;
  • avoid taking hypnotic drugs (use them only if your doctor prescribed them, in extreme cases);
  • refuse drinks with caffeine (coffee, strong tea);
  • do not eat 2 hours before bedtime, so as not to cause problems with digestion;
  • 3 hours before sleep, reduce the amount of consumed fluid;
  • it is useful to walk before going to bed, however, avoid intensive physical exertion;
  • try to follow a certain sleeping schedule;
  • if convulsions make you wake up during the night, then it is worth informing the doctor about it (the doctor will prescribe medications for their elimination);
  • with sleep disorders caused by emotional distress, you need to seek advice from a psychologist, or family members (mother, sister, girlfriend) who have already given birth to a child.

sleeping on back while pregnant. pregnant woman sleeping on a pillow

Choosing a comfortable and correct pose is an important component of a healthy sleep. Sleeping on back while pregnant gets more dangerous as the pregnancy proceeds. If there is a habit of sleeping just like that, then it’s worth trying to change it from the first weeks. Keep in mind that the best pose is sleeping on one side. Special pregnancy pillows will be of great help as they help to gently fix the correct position and make it more convenient.

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    I am newly pregnant with my first baby. I have not enough ideas about sleeping position during pregnancy. But after reading this article, I feel a little bit relax. Now i understand what is the safe and comfortable position during pregnancy. Thanks for your informative article.

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