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Is sleeping on your back, really that bad during pregnancy?


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#1 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

I am 18 weeks pregnant and currently share a bed with DS.

I have read that the optimal position to sleep in is on the left side. I've been trying to do this as much as possible but it hurts my back. The most comfortable position is on my back and I find this positions helps alleviate my back pain.

Also DS moves around a lot in his sleep and likes to sleep in the crook of my arm or lying with his head on my belly so sometimes I'm limited with the sleep positions because it depends on how he is sleeping.

Is it really bad to sleep on my back? Sleep is so few and precious at the moment that I just want to be comfortable and get some rest!

#2 Feral Nicety

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

No it really is not a problem.  The side sleeping idea is only a theory when a pregnancy has issues.  For a normal pregnancy just get the sleep as you can and don't worry about blood flow to the placenta.

#3 Wildence

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

I think you might find it uncomfortable sleeping on your back in the third trimester.  But right now just enjoy it original.gif

#4 TwiceThe Woman

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:07 AM

At 18 weeks it shouldn't be a problem - but as you get bigger the uterus can put pressure on the IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) - the major vessel returning blood to the heart and blood pressure can drop - and often will drop BP if you are around full term.
With women who are due we often have a small sandbag to wedge under their right hip just to tilt the uterus over enough to the left side to allow adequate return and get an accurate BP reading.
For anyone with back pain - very often back pain can be relieved when lying on your side with a firm pillow between your legs.
All the best!

#5 lozoodle

Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:36 AM

Once you get to the stage it is a problem its too uncomfortable to do so anyway. Just sleep how you are most comfortable, i find i wake up if im sleeping in a positiom that isnt ideal and usually feel a bit icky until i roll over.

#6 Cyaira

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:11 AM

It definitely has an effect for me in the third trimester - if I lie on my back I get dizzy and lightheaded and feel quite unwell. This is fairly quickly relieved by rolling onto my side. I definitely do not think the side sleeping thing is 'only a theory when a pregnancy has issues'!!

I found sleeping on my side with a pillow shoved against my back and one between my knees helpful for getting sleep when you want to sleep on your back. I also have sciatica and SPD so know what you mean about back pain! A good massage or hot pack can help.

#7 Ice Queen

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:17 AM

There was a study recently released that there was a correlation between back sleeping and still births and the advice was not to sleep on your back in late pregnancy.  But I agree with the PP, by the time you get to this stage it will be too uncomfortable anyway.

#8 againagain

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (Cyaira @ 06/02/2013, 08:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It definitely has an effect for me in the third trimester - if I lie on my back I get dizzy and lightheaded and feel quite unwell.


This was my experience as well. Beware the dentist chair, osteo or anyone else who makes you lie down! It didn't tend to bother me until 25 weeks or so.


#9 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

Okay cool thanks everyone original.gif I'll just keep doing it until it becomes uncomfortable. At the moment sleeping in awkward side positions, jig sawed around DS is doing my back in and back sleeping gives me relief! Thank you.

#10 Marley&Me

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

I am almost 24 weeks pregnant & like you sleep with DS who is 2. He likes to lie all over me limiting my movement sometimes as I don't want to disturb him.

I go to sleep on my side, generally right but wake every morning flat on my back. It hasn't bothered my at this point although I do sleep with a pillow between my legs and have done since my first pregnancy lol!


#11 B.feral3

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

I learned something at uni about aortocaval compression. The term stuck with me so I just looked it up and found this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aortocaval_compression_syndrome

I never slept on my back anyway because I find it uncomfortable at the best of times.

#12 Natttmumm

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

I think your body will tell you when it's uncomfortable.
I can sleep on my back and I feel like I'm suffocating now.



#13 SophieBear

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

I occasionally still wake up on my back and find there is no bother. I'm nearing 30 weeks.

When I worry about it, I put a thinner pillow under my bottom on my right side, so that I lean to the left which is really comfortable.

#14 Clarial

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

Im 33 weeks and sleeping on my back is my preference typically but so uncomfortable for me - there is a strong feeling of pressure and discomfort that i wasn't feeling earlier in pregnancy...

like you i had read about left side sleeping as a recommendation and as a PP mentioned, I also saw the article on EB mentioning research that demonstrates the relationship of back sleeping and stillbirth rates...so i have been trying to get with the LH side sleep for most of the preg. will never be a fan and can't wait to return to back and tummy sleeps!

I used to roll to right hand side as well but in recent weeks this instantly brings on reflux/heartburn for me.

Sleep well OP  happy.gif

#15 bright*future

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

I have always been a side sleeper, and find at the moment sometimes having a little lie down on my back, supported with pillows so I am a bit upright really nice.  At a physio info session at hospital I went to, they said the risks are significantly reduced if you're upright to about 30 degrees.

Supporting yourself with lots of pillows can help it be more comfortable, a pillow between your knees or lying in the "recovery" position with your top knee bent & resting on a pillow that makes your hips about even, are my favourites.

I have read about all the risks wouldn't sleep on my back all night or deliberately fall asleep on my back.  (But I have been very risk averse with absolutely everything in pregnancy!!)

#16 Jadey73

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:11 AM

My favourite position is on my back, closely followed by my right side.  It's more uncomfortable on my left side due to neck pain and a rib injury as a child, but I'm trying.  I must admit I'm feeling heavier when on my back now at almost 27wks, but so far no worrying symptoms when I am on my back. It's always hard to make myself stay on my left at night, I always end up on my back or right side. A pillow between the knees is comfy for me.

Just wondering, what are the reasons that the right side is not as favourable as the left during pregnancy?

#17 Soontobegran

Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE (Jadey73 @ 09/02/2013, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just wondering, what are the reasons that the right side is not as favourable as the left during pregnancy?


It is because the liver is on the right side of the body and the heavy uterus 'might' squish it somewhat and so the blood flow is not as good.
Having said that it is very very unusual to have a uterus that is heavy enough to cause damage before we roll over in bed.
The same goes for lying on the back. If that is the only way you can comfortably sleep then it is awful to think that some mums to be lie awake petrified they are harming the baby because there really is minimal risk. Someone with a heavy uterus who lies flat on their back may feel a bit dizzy as their blood pressure drops and instinctively we roll over an the problem is solved long before there is any affect on the baby.

#18 Jadey73

Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

Thanks STBG, always a wealth of information original.gif

OP, wishing you lots of good sleep, do whatever works for you seems to be the motto. I have to agree with PPs, your body will tell when you're not in a good position even when asleep (or in my case, semi-comatose in the summer heat lol!). Happy sleeping to all.   ssleep.gif




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