As your pregnancy advances, finding a comfortable position to sleep in becomes harder, considering the tremendous changes your body goes through.
The “SOS,” or sleep on the side, is an ideal sleeping posture during this period, as laying on your back for long may harm you and your unborn baby.
Can you sleep on your back while pregnant?
You can retain your favorite sleeping posture in the initial stage of your pregnancy, but as your baby and belly start to grow, you need to avoid sleeping on your back.
When should you stop sleeping on your back during pregnancy?
Besides doctors not recommending it after the first trimester, sleeping in this position for long would be difficult for you also, as your uterus size is increasing every month. If pregnant with twins, you should stop lying on your back earlier as the uterus grows much sooner.
Why is it bad to sleep on your back while pregnant?
When you lay on your back for a long duration, your growing uterus might compress the major vein (vena cava), carrying blood to your baby. This may, therefore, come in the way of adequate blood flow and proper nutrient supply to the unborn baby, not to mention giving you a feeling of physical discomfort.
As the vena cava is located on the right side of your body, the left side is considered the perfect sleeping position during pregnancy.
A study mentions that mothers sleeping on their backs in the later phase of their pregnancy are more prone to having a stillbirth, particularly if they already have a high-risk pregnancy.
What happens if you lay on your back?
If you wake up on your back even after going to bed on your side, do not panic, as it would not affect your baby. Just alter your posture as you go back to sleep. However, intentionally sleeping on your back regularly may lead to nausea, dizziness, breathing trouble, low blood pressure, and increased back pain, apart from all the harm it might cause your baby.
If you already have hemorrhoids, this sleeping position might also worsen your condition by putting pressure on your rectal area.
What to Do if You Need to Lie on Your Back?
- If suffering from heartburn or shortness of breath, you can sleep on your back with propped-up pillows at a 45° angle, as this would prevent the vena cava from getting compressed.
- You may need to lie on your back while attending prenatal yoga classes; just ensure you are not staying in that position for a long time.
To have a comfortable sleep sans any disturbance, it is, therefore, essential to prevent sleeping on your back and stomach and adopt a proper posture while lying down.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.