Can I Sleep On My Back During Pregnancy?

Sleeping during pregnancy is a challenge of its own. The process which you took for granted all your life is now restricted, with only a few positions which are deemed okay to sleep in. Many of us have slept on our back all throughout our lives. But is it okay to sleep on your back during pregnancy? The question is on the minds of many expecting moms.

You can sleep on your back up to the first half of your pregnancy. But as your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby, it is ideal to sleep sideways as sleeping on your back even after your first half of the pregnancy, i.e., after 20 weeks can compress a major blood vessel called the vena cava. It regulates the blood flow and nutrients to your baby, and disrupting the flow can make you feel nauseous and dizzy.

If you have health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, it is vital to sleep on your side rather than sleeping on your back as the blood flow is already poor due to your condition and it may get worse if the vena cava (the vein which carries deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body to the right atrium of the heart)gets compressed. The left side of the body is the ideal side to sleep on during this phase as the vena cava is located on the right side of your spine. However, it is okay to sleep on either side as long as there is no discomfort.

Here are certain tips to sleep during pregnancy:

  • Use pillows under your back to obstruct yourself from turning to your back.
  • If you encounter shortness of breath or heartburn, try to place a pillow on top of your abdomen.
  • Try to keep a pillow between your legs while sleeping on your side to comfort yourself.

If you wake up in the middle of the night finding yourself sleeping on your back, it is completely fine because your body needs time to adjust to a new sleeping position. That is why it is better to exercise good sleeping habits from the beginning of your pregnancy. If you find yourself sleeping on your back, go back to sleep on your side without any worries, as your body will indicate the signs if there would be anything worrisome such as nausea or breathlessness before there is any danger to the baby.