Tips for pregnancy

How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: September 5, 2023
How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant

The most comfortable sleeping positions when pregnant are those that adapt to the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy. Especially in the last trimester, the sleeping positions you adopt when pregnant will need to be adapted to these changes. The fetal development and placement may mean you will need to try different sleeping positions and different times. Although we provide the best pregnancy sleeping positions, what is best for you will also be down to your own comfort. This is why oneHOWTO explains how to sleep comfortably when pregnant.

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  1. How to sleep comfortably when pregnant
  2. On your side
  3. Raised torso
  4. Using additional pillows or a sleep pillow
  5. Legs raised
  6. What sleep positions to avoid while pregnant

How to sleep comfortably when pregnant

It's essential to prioritize comfort and safety while sleeping to ensure a good night's rest. This is especially the case when you are pregnant. It is very important to do what you can to make sleeping during pregnancy comfortable, so we should consider the following:

  • Body support: as the pregnancy progresses, your body's shape changes, and you may experience additional pressure on certain areas like the back, hips, and abdomen. Using supportive pillows or pregnancy pillows can help alleviate discomfort and provide better support for your growing belly.

  • Mattress quality: a comfortable and supportive mattress is essential during pregnancy. A mattress that is too firm or too soft may cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Look for a mattress that provides adequate support for your body's changing needs.

  • Temperature and bedding: pregnancy hormones can cause fluctuations in body temperature, so consider using breathable bedding and adjusting room temperature for a comfortable sleep environment.

  • Hydration and bathroom trips: stay hydrated during the day, but try to limit fluid intake before bedtime to reduce nighttime bathroom trips, which can disrupt sleep.

  • Relaxation techniques: practice relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as deep breathing or gentle stretching, to help calm your mind and body for better sleep.

  • Avoid stimulants: reduce or avoid caffeine and other stimulants, especially in the evening, as they can interfere with sleep.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can create a more comfortable sleep environment during pregnancy and improve the quality of your rest. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have specific concerns or questions about sleeping during pregnancy.

One of the most important ways omitted from the above list is sleeping position. Certain sleeping positions are recommended during pregnancy to promote better blood circulation and reduce pressure on the uterus. It's generally advised to sleep on your left side, as this position improves blood flow to the placenta and baby.

On your side

Although there are no fixed rules about which sleeping position during pregnancy is best for you, there are some general guidelines. The vast majority of medical specialists suggest that sleeping on your side is the bets position for sleeping during pregnancy. This is especially so when the fetus is in the last trimester. It is partly useful because it makes falling asleep less complicated.

While sleeping on your side might be helpful, it can be difficult to know which side is best to sleep on when pregnant. This also has a general consensus among specialists who claim a left lateral sleeping position is best, especially at late stage[1].

The main reason for a left lateral sleeping position is that the vena cava is located on the right side. This is essential to return blood circulation and to keep the placenta perfectly irrigated, meaning nutrients and oxygen reach the baby. Sleeping on the left side implies this is not under any pressure. It is the largest vein in our circulatory system, so removing pressure allows freer flow on the bloodstream to feed both mother and fetus.

How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant - On your side

Raised torso

Some women at the end of pregnancy have discomfort related to the digestive system that ranges from heavy digestions to acidity problems and gastric reflux. Following an adequate and healthy diet is always important, but even more so during pregnancy. Trying to eat a light dinner and choosing appropriate foods is the first step to avoid digestive discomfort that prevents you from sleeping well.

In addition, sleeping with the torso slightly raised can help to keep reflux under control. This can be done by placing an extra pillow on the back or even raising the mattress. This will depend on the type of mattress you have since most mattresses do not have this ability.

Using additional pillows or a sleep pillow

Every woman should find the sleeping position that both favors good rest and allows for blood flow. Something that can help is the use of pillows. There are special pillows you can buy which are of various shapes and levels of firmness. They can be excellent allies, especially for pregnant women who are having trouble sleeping. By taking a pillow and placing it between the knees while sleeping on the left side, it can provide extra support.

For many people sleeping on the side with a pillow is the best way to be comfortable during pregnancy. We can use pillows we have already, but there are also companies that make pillows for pregnant women. They are longer than normal and are designed to be in a ‘U’ or a ‘V’ shape. This allows us to place the pillow under the legs, but also support the head at the same time.

There are also some pillows that serve to support the back during sleep. These can reduce the discomfort that often occurs in the lower back at the end of pregnancy.

How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant - Using additional pillows or a sleep pillow

Legs raised

As the fourth option among the best positions to sleep while pregnant, doing it with your legs elevated can be a good choice for some pregnant women. This is especially when you have legs that are feeling strain or have some swelling. Raising them by placing them on a cushion and taking the opportunity to do so in a refreshing nap is an effective remedy to promote return blood circulation, reducing swelling and favoring rest.

How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant - Legs raised

What sleep positions to avoid while pregnant

It is normal to wonder how a pregnant woman can sleep, but in reality almost any position in which the woman feels comfortable can be valid. This is as long as it doesn't put pressure on any blood flow to the fetus. With this in mind, it is true that there are better positions, like the ones we have indicated. There are also others that are generally not advisable.

If you are used to sleeping on your back, during the first months of pregnancy you can continue to do so. As the baby grows and the weight of the belly increases, this position is no longer recommended. As the pregnancy progresses, the woman tends to naturally move to lie on her side. This is because the discomfort increases on her back.

Moreover, sleeping in a supine position (on your back) can lead to problems and back pain of varying intensity, it can also cause digestive discomfort and even respiratory difficulties. Even more significantly, sleeping in the supine position during the last trimester reduces uterine blood flow and increases the risk of stillbirth[2].

Something similar happens if you tend to sleep on your stomach. At first there will be no problem and this position does not pose any risk to the developing fetus,. As the fetus develops, the belly increases in size. In addition to being uncomfortable, sleeping will hinder proper blood circulation, so it should also be avoided in the final months of pregnancy.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant, we recommend you visit our Family health category.


1. Rossiter, S. K., Aziz, S., Wilson, A. N., Comrie-Thomson, L., Stacey, T., Homer, C. S. E., & Vogel, J. P. (2021). Women's sleep position during pregnancy in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Reproductive health, 18(1), 53.

2. Anderson, N. H., Gordon, A., Li, M., Cronin, R. S., Thompson, J. M. D., Raynes-Greenow, C. H., Heazell, A. E. P., Stacey, T., Culling, V. M., Wilson, J., Askie, L. M., Mitchell, E. A., & McCowan, L. M. E. (2019). Association of Supine Going-to-Sleep Position in Late Pregnancy With Reduced Birth Weight: A Secondary Analysis of an Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis. JAMA network open, 2(10), e1912614.

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How to Sleep Comfortably When Pregnant