29 January

Sleeping on the back during pregnancy good or bad? Can pregnancy pillows help with good sleep?

One of my subscribers who is pregnant and in her 6th month had a question for me regarding sleeping positions during pregnancy and if sleep pillows help. Sleeping during first trimester and last trimester of pregnancy can be challenging. In the first trimester,  the uterus is still inside the pelvis and the growing embryo in the womb puts pressure on the bladder and this can cause the urge for you to urinate every few hours.

The problem of good sleep during the last trimester is multi-pronged. During this time, your sleep can be disturbed not only because of the frequent trips to the bathroom but also to the fact that you are big now with a bigger tummy and falling asleep carrying an extra few kilograms can be a challenge.  To add to this are a few “No’s” during pregnancy regarding sleeping positions. It is usually better to avoid sleeping on the back during the latter half of pregnancy. It is believed that by sleeping on the back, you put pressure on the big blood vessel called inferior vena cava, aorta which can in turn cause decreased blood supply to the baby.

It can also cause

  • Low blood pressure or high blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Clammy feeling to the skin
  • Heartburn and abdominal pain

This can affect the baby as the baby depends on your blood supply for its nutrition and oxygen. Sleeping on the left side is the best position as the pressure of the uterus does not fall on any vessel, but don’t get worked up about it and it is Okay if you tend to fall asleep sometimes on your back. It is natural, for the mother to change positions in the night and the kicks of the baby may also wake you up and when you wake up, try to go back to side sleeping.  Sleeping on the left side can allow for better blood circulation, which can reduce swelling, particularly in our ankles


Now to the second part of the question - Can pregnancy pillows help?

Pillows are usually soft and can be pretty useful to you during pregnancy. It can help in relieving some pressure off your back. You can also put them between your legs close to your knees which can help in getting your hips upright and lower your back pain or you can use it behind your neck and head. A body pillow can give you support all over. You can sleep hugging the pillow or just throw it on the side and it helps in giving you back support.

A U-shaped pillow offers dual support for the back and belly, reducing the chance of heartburn.

Check out different body pillows here.

About our blogs

We have put together weekly developments during pregnancy. These articles are only for information. Every pregnancy is different and every woman's experience may be different. We also have articles relating to women's health, infertility and plan to add information about newborn care. Through the blogs, videos and our online consultation services, we are trying to empower mothers (as well as soon-to-be-moms) with health information which is easily understandable. Our mission is to help mothers have a happy pregnancy and a very happy postpartum experience. 

Have a passion to write, want to share a pregnancy story... Send in your articles, our team of experts will go through it and publish it on our website. 

Call us at +91 80 39534676  for a second opinion from our doctors. This is a paid service.

Pregnancy brings a new meaning to the concept of beauty to a woman. It is a period of immense joy, excitement and anxiety. The feeling of carrying a little soul within you is beautiful.

Last modified on Friday, 03 August 2018 16:08
Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.


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