Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy

I find this one very interesting because it makes me wonder if thousands of years ago our ancestors worried about this? Probably not but they also didn’t live much past 20 so I’ll press on.

You have a large vein (called the inferior vena cava) that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs and your largest artery (called your aorta) running down your body so if you’re giant pregnant and your uterus presses on them for any great length of time you could compress them. If this happens then a crazy thing occurs, you become uncomfortable, possibly dizzy and breathless and, you know what, you move. Plus, you rarely stay in the same position when you sleep so whether you’re trying to stay on or off your back, you’re not going to be successful doing either for very long.

What I found interesting is if you pose the question about sleeping positions, the party line is to stay off your back and ideally sleep on your left side to maximize blood flow, etc. but if you’re complaining about not being able to get comfortable when you sleep, all this flies out the window and it’s whatever works. This includes sleeping on your stomach if you’re still physically able to do it.

I was pretty impressed with the level of know how the human body is equipped with so, unless you have some kind of underlying health issue like high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm labor or placental insufficiency, it looks like you should sleep and rest in whatever position is the most comfortable. After all if peeing, heartburn, baby kicking, leg cramps, constipation or the general panic of becoming a mother isn’t keeping you up, Honey, get your rest.

search: laying on back while pregnant, can’t sleep while pregnant, sleeping problems pregnant, inferior vena cava syndrome, supine hypotensive syndrome

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  • I just had my 24 weeks with my doc today and was saying that my hips are killing, which along with them saying I am of advanced maternal age, made me feel like I was 800 years old. That being said she mentioned how frustrated she was that all the reading materials say sleep on your side. She said more than likely you are putting far too much pressure on your hips and you should sort of sleep on back and side, almost propped up. This is the first time I have heard this the entire pregnancy so I am pretty damn grateful. Although at this point I think I sleep on my back and side anyways in anticipation of having to get me and my belly out of the bed in a timely manner to go pee…but I digress.

  • YES! LOVE! Thank you for making me feel OK about my quest to get comfortable in whatever way possible… my partner wakes me up in the middle of the night sometimes to say "hey, you’re on your back again". And then I grumble some swear words and roll over onto my side where my hips ache and struggle to fall back to sleep.

  • I know there is a level of humor in this blog being maintained, and I like it, but please the whole our ancestors didn’t live past 20 (actually the number most people throw around is 30) is not true. Any individual had the capacity to live as long as we do today. What brought the average down was mostly childhood disease. Babies and young children died all the time. So mathematically a bunch of people under 10 die but a bunch of people keep going until 60 or more, then your average is 30 something.

    • Good point. Although, my impression was disease and childbirth took out a large chunk in the teens and twenties as well which was another reason the average was so low. I could be wrong though – I can never remember where I read these things. : )

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