Sleeping On Your Stomach During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

6 min read

Written by Pradeep


Sleeping On Your Stomach During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a period of a mixture of emotions. You feel overwhelmed, joyful, scared, and anxious-all at the same time. Your mind has constant questions about what is safe and unsafe for your pregnancy, especially if this is your first time. One of the basic questions every pregnant woman has is about safe sleeping positions. You may wonder if sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy is safe, especially if this was your favorite sleeping position before you were pregnant.

There are many views on the best position to sleep when pregnant. Old wives’ tale suggests that sleeping on the right may be dangerous. It is also believed that you must refrain from sleeping on your stomach when you are pregnant. So, what is the truth? Which side should you sleep on to ensure a healthy pregnancy? And does your sleeping position influence your pregnancy and baby’s health? This article attempts at setting the facts straight so that you are better informed and can feel confident about your sleeping.

In This Article

Is It Safe to Sleep on the Stomach When Pregnant?

Early on during pregnancy, you can always sleep on your stomach. With passing time and a growing belly, that position will start to become uncomfortable. But it is okay to sleep on your stomach if you feel comfortable this way. Lying on your back is not always recommended because of the pressure on the inferior vena cava.

There is no special evidence to show that sleeping on the stomach during the early weeks of pregnancy will cause any harm. The amniotic fluid and the uterine walls of the mother’s womb will have that cushion feel to it and will protect the baby from any future problems. So, if you feel comfortable, you can sleep on your stomach and it is totally safe!

Sleeping on Tummy During Pregnancy

pregnant women sleeping on stomach

When women reach their advanced pregnancy stages, they will find it incredibly challenging to sleep on their stomach as the abdomen will grow and raise the torso as well. It will alter the natural curvature point of the spine.

Sleeping on the stomach might sometimes cause shoulder and neck problems like stiffness, pain, and even soreness. Some pregnant women might experience lower back pain and even pelvic girdle pain which will make it even more difficult to sleep.

Researchers have observed some links between reduction in sleep quality and various outcomes during pregnancy, like high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, unplanned cesarean delivery, and premature birth.

If you still love to sleep on your stomach, you can use a stomach sleeping pillow with an area which is cut out for the belly area.

Sleeping Positions in Pregnancy

Doctors will mostly recommend pregnant women to sleep on their side. A review from 2019 suggests that sleeping on either side will make the pregnancy journey safe.

1. Sleeping on the Left side

Most women prefer to sleep on their left side during pregnancy to help with proper blood flow. The IVC or the large vein runs parallelly to the spine on the right side. This vein carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body and back to the right side of the heart for oxygenation.

2. Sleeping on the Right Side

Some previous research materials show that non-left-sided sleeping is linked with higher rates of stillbirth. In theory, sleeping on the right side during the later pregnancy stages will compress the IVC, thus, reducing the blood returning to the heart and decreasing placental blood flow.

However, other research materials show that people sleeping on the right side while pregnant are not likely to experience late stillbirth than those sleeping on the left side. So, sleeping on any side is safe. If you wish to avoid risks, you can sleep on your left side.

[Read : Sleeping On Back During Pregnancy]

Sleeping on Your Stomach During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

women sleeping on stomach

During the first trimester, it is easily safe for women to sleep in any position in which she feels the most comfortable. Whether it is on her back, stomach, or even side. Even a combination of any of the positions is just fine. The uterus has not grown large enough to just interfere with the sleep at this stage.

Sleeping on Your Stomach During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

During the second trimester of your pregnancy, you must sleep on either side and avoid sleeping on your back. This is because the back position will rest the entire weight of the growing uterus. Moreover, you will have the extra weight of the baby on the back, along with your vena cava and intestines.

On the other hand, sleeping on your stomach is actually not possible during this stage. It is because your stomach has grown large and it will make you feel uncomfortable, unless you have a pillow with a hole cut for the stomach to rest.

Sleeping on Your Stomach During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

pregnant women sleeping on left side

During the third or final trimester of your pregnancy, you have to follow the same norms as in the second trimester. Avoid sleeping on your back as that will add more pressure to your body. Moreover, sleeping on your stomach seems to be a bad idea at this point. The stomach gets huge and you have to get rid of this situation now.

Sleeping on either one of the sides at this point will be a good option. So, you need to check in with the doctors and get some information for this stage of pregnancy as well.

[Read : Sleep During Pregnancy – First, Second and Third Trimester]

Disadvantages of Sleeping on the Stomach

As it has been mentioned already, sleeping on your stomach when you are pregnant can cause shoulder and neck problems. You may experience soreness, stiffness, and pain. Some women might also experience lower back pain and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy if they sleep on their stomachs. So, that makes it even more difficult to sleep.

Tips For Better Sleep

women sleeping at night with pillow

Are you pregnant and finding it hard to get some good sleep? Well, your body definitely deserves some rest, and proper sleep on a daily basis is really important for the better growth of the baby. Well, some of the tips mentioned now will actually help you to know how you can improve your sleep while you are pregnant.

  • Try to develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help you sleep well.
  • Make sure to maintain a regular bed and wake time.
  • Avoid using electronics and gadgets such as mobile at least an hour before you hit the bed.
  • Limit caffeine intake, especially at least 4 hours before going to bed. In any case, avoiding caffeine during pregnancy is healthy for you, so you can avoid having coffee and tea completely.
  • Relieve your stress with mindfulness, meditation, massage therapy, or yoga.
  • Try sleeping on your side. You can get a maternity pillow for extra support.
  • Limit breathing problems by elevating your head when you sleep.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated to reduce leg cramping.

Sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy can be safe for you as long as it is convenient, especially during the first trimester. Once you cross this period, your growing belly may not permit you to sleep comfortably in this position. During second and third trimesters, sleeping on the side will be ideal as this position will allow you to get a good night’s sleep. Remember, a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy, so you can do whatever helps you to sleep well during your pregnancy period.

[Read : How To Sleep Comfortably During Pregnancy?]


1. What Can Cause Sleepless Nights During Pregnancy?

Hunger, nausea, depression, and anxiety are some of the reasons that result in sleepless nights during pregnancy.

2. Do Women Experience Insomnia When Pregnant?

Not all, but most people might suffer from insomnia during various stages of pregnancy. They tend to get it more during the first and third trimesters.

3. Is it Normal to Wake up in the Middle of the Night When You Are Pregnant?

Sleep problems are pretty common when you are pregnant. So, maintaining a proper diet, reducing stress, and keeping hydrated are some of the major points to consider.

Read Also: How To Use Pregnancy Pillow?


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