What’s the safest sleeping position in pregnancy?

Tossing and turning at night is common when you have a growing bump, but why do experts say it's best to avoid sleeping on your back? And is it true it's safest to sleep on your left or right side?


it’s normal to faff about in bed, trying to find the most comfy position for you and your bump. Let’s face it, it can sometimes be difficult to get comfortable in any position! 


The best position according to the experts…

Midwife Anne Richley says, “The absolute best position to sleep when you’re pregnant is on your left side with a pillow under your bump and another pillow between your knees.

“It isn’t a good idea to lie flat on your back during the later stages of pregnancy, as the weight of your bump presses down on some major veins that carry blood back to your heart.”

Why sleeping on your back isn’t advised

Sleeping on your back can make you feel dizzy and faint, explains midwife Anne. “In theory, this could interfere with the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby.

“But don’t lie awake worrying about what position you should be in or be alarmed if you wake up on your back – you’ll naturally change position before it causes you or your baby any problems.”

The NHS says sleeping on your back after around 16 weeks can be uncomfortable and make you feel faint. Towards the end of pregnancy, as your bump becomes heavy, it might be more comfortable to prop yourself up with pillows so that you are almost in a sitting position. This can also help with pregnancy heartburn too.

Above all, it’s important not to let disturbed sleep worry you. It won’t harm your baby. 


So is it safe to sleep on your right side?

There is ongoing research into safe sleep positions during pregnancy following a small 2011 study which linked lying on your back or right side with an increased risk of stillbirth.

The NHS says the study showed more research was needed and did not conclusively prove that sleeping position affects the risk of stillbirth. The risk of stillbirth is very low, regardless of sleep position.

So how do MFM mums sleep in pregnancy?

“I was a tummy sleeper,” says Luna12, “but as I got bigger in the pregnancy this obviously wasn’t an option, and neither was sleeping on my back. I literally used to flip from side to side with a pillow between my legs supporting my bump. I must have looked very interesting.”

LittleMadam says, “I would consider looking into a dream Genii pillow – they are seriously fab. My husband can’t wait for me to have this baby so that he can use it!!” 

And we’ll give MissusS the last word, because we reckon she’s got a good point: “Sleep in pregnancy… Is a myth!”

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