Can You Sleep On Your Back During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be exhausting. Plus, you need sleep now more than ever. But finding a comfortable position can be a challenge, especially when you are plagued with concerns over which positions are safe and which should be avoided.
Turns out, back sleeping is fine during the first and second trimesters. But during the third trimester, it increases your risk of having a sᴛɪʟʟʙɪʀᴛʜ and other problems, so it is best to choose another position.
“Sleeping on your back during pregnancy should be avoided in the third trimester to avoid compression of the vein that returns ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ to the heart,” says Kim Langdon, MD, an Ohio-based OB/GYN with more than 20 years of experience. The why behind the warnings:
As your uterus gets larger (usually by the time you’re 20 weeks) it’s big enough that it lies on top of your inferior vena cava, if you’re lying on your back. “This big ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ vessel is what brings ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ flow back to your heartSo the thought is if you have anything large that’s pushing against the ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ flow return, you’ll have less ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ flow to your heart. That means you’ll have less ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ flow to yourself and the baby.”,” Dr. Zanotti explains
When the baby, placenta, and uterine fluid grow heavier, sleep position becomes an important consideration. As you get closer to the third trimester, this weight may compress important ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ vessels, leading to problems like low birth weight, ᴘʀᴇᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ, reduced fetal growth, and sᴛɪʟʟʙɪʀᴛʜ. The weight of the contents of your uterus is what determines when back sleeping becomes unsafe. This may vary from person to person, so you should always talk with your healthcare provider to understand exactly when and whether back sleeping is safe for you and your specific pregnancy.
And left side vs. right side?
Traditionally, Ob/Gyns have advised pregnant women to sleep on their left side. That’s because your inferior vena cava is on your right. “The thinking was that if you slept on your right side, you could potentially compress the ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ flow,” Dr. Zanotti says.
“The left side’s idealIf you like your left side, absolutely wonderful. But if you’re a right-sided sleeper, you’re fine that way too.” she says