HomePregnancyIs Sleeping on The Stomach While Pregnant Safe?

Is Sleeping on The Stomach While Pregnant Safe?


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Are you one of those few people who enjoy sleeping on their stomachs? If yes, you are likely wondering about how safe it is during the pregnancy term, right? You aren’t the only person inquisitive about this because most pregnant women are continually trying to find the most comfortable sleeping positions and routines throughout their preganacy.

As you progress in your pregnancy journey and as your baby grows inside the womb, and along with it so will the bump. And, that’s what creates a barrier between you and a comfortable night’s sleep.

When you think about it practically, chances are that sleeping on your stomach or tummy sounds like a big no during pregnancy. But, is it always the case?

We will discuss more on how to sleep during pregnancy, the side effects of sleeping on your stomach, and a few tips to make sleeping during your pregnancy journey easier.

Should I Even Sleep on My Stomach During Pregnancy?

Sleeping on your stomach might not be a feasible option during the later months of pregnancy but it’s not banned throughout.

In fact, reports suggest that it’s safe to sleep on your stomach until first 16-18 weeks of gestation. However, this also depends on how big your bump is and if there are any potential risks associated with your pregnancy.

One of the most common factors that prevent pregnant women from sleeping on their stomach is thinking it would harm the developing fetus. However, the good news is that the amniotic fluid and sturdy uterine walls are strong enough to protect the fetus when you are sleeping on your tummy during the earlier months of pregnancy.

However, as you progress into your pregnancy and your bump grows with each passing day, the concept of stomach sleeping itself will start to seem uncomfortable. Most pregnant women who tried sleeping on their stomach after 16-18 weeks reported stiffness in the neck and shoulders. It might also contributes to lower back pain.

Often, doctors suggest using a “donut pillow” for stomach sleepers during pregnancy. This cushions the bump and abdominal region, providing a more elevated position for the mother to ensure better quality sleep through the night without the consequence of neck and shoulder pain.

What are the Benefits of Sleeping on the Stomach during Pregnancy?

As a pregnant woman, your body is going through a plethora of physiological changes. These will not just contribute to mood swings due to hormonal changes but also enhance the risks of poor quality of sleep through the night.

In such cases, it is completely on the expecting mother to choose a sleeping position that works best for them. If that’s sleeping on the stomach, then so be it. 

Some of the potential benefits of sleeping on the stomach during the initial months of pregnancy include:

Promote quality sleep

Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s physical and mental health. If you aren’t getting good sleep throughout the night, it further worsens the risks of pregnancy related complications, including miscarriage, preeclampsia, stillbirth, etc.

So, if sleeping on the stomach seems like a comfortable position for you, it is ideal to sleep that way. Not only does it ensure better quality sleep, but it also reduces the impacts of pregnancy fatigue that most pregnant women experience.

Avoid unsafe sleeping positions

While sleeping on the stomach might seem like the most unsafe sleeping position during pregnancy, it practically isn’t. In fact, studies indicate that sleeping on the back after 28 weeks might contribute to the restricted blood circulation by compressing the inferior vena cava.

When you sleep on your stomach with a supporting pillow underneath, you do minimize the risks associated with sleeping in the other “riskier” positions.

Relieve muscle stiffness and soreness

Carrying a baby isn’t the easiest task in the world. The pressure and weight often lead to swelling in the feet and arms, leading to constant stiffness and pain in the body too.

Lying down on the stomach can straighten out those stiff and sore muscles and bring you the much-needed relief that you need to feel comfortable throughout the night.

Is Sleeping on the Stomach Safe for the Baby?

While sleeping on back while pregnant imposes a lot of health risks, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to sleeping on your stomach.

In fact, studies indicate that sleeping in a prone position can ensure optimal comfort through pregnancy and relieve stiffness in the muscles. It doesn’t necessarily harm your baby but it comes with an expiration.

Most doctors advise sleeping in the prone position for up to 16-18 weeks. Anything beyond that might impose strain on the fetus and restrict blood flow. However, this duration might be shortened if you have a high-risk pregnancy. It is always ideal to discuss your options and safety with the doctor to prevent causing any potential harm to the baby.

How to Optimize Sleep during Pregnancy?

Quality of sleep throughout pregnancy is very important, for both mother and developing child. It’s what ensures that both the mother and the baby are in the best of their health. Lack of optimal sleep during pregnancy is also associated with a lot of complications. Hence, optimizing your sleep during pregnancy is a need of the hour.

Some of the top tips to improve the quality of sleep during pregnancy are:

  • Create the optimal settings in the bedroom to induce good-quality sleep. This includes keeping the temperature optimal, keeping the room dark, and also ensuring optimal ventilation.
  • Get a pregnancy pillow if you need more comfort throughout the night.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of water or beverages an hour or two before bed because that will make you pee throughout the night, thereby disrupting your sleep.
  • Find the right sleeping position that ensures comfort and safety during the pregnancy.


  1. Will it hurt my baby if I sleep on my stomach?

No scientific evidence suggests that sleeping on the stomach in the earlier months of pregnancy might cause harm to the developing fetus. However, it’s ideal to discuss the same with your healthcare provider to get an answer based on your health and pregnancy journey.

  1. Until when is it safe to sleep on your stomach while pregnant?

The safety period for stomach sleeping during pregnancy is generally up to 16-18 weeks of gestation. It depends on how quickly your bump grows.

  1. Can I sleep on my stomach in 2nd trimester?

Sleeping on the stomach during the second trimester might not be damaging but limit the “prone sleeping position” up to 16-18 weeks only.


If you had a question of whether can you lay on your stomach while pregnant, we hope this article answers the same in detail. Remember that sleeping on your stomach isn’t unsafe till a certain period in your pregnancy journey. However, it’s still ideal to discuss everything in detail with your OBGYN to rule out any possible complications that you likely didn’t know about.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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