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Right Side Vs. Left Side: Which Is the Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy?


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Pregnancy is undoubtedly an exhilarating and joyful experience, but the limitations that an expecting mother experiences throughout the pregnancy term can be quite pitiful. There is a lot that you have to give up on, especially concerning your physical comfort.

Sleeping position during pregnancy is possibly the most common one that’s in debate. As the pregnancy progresses, so does the size of the bump. This means that while you didn’t feel any different sleeping on one side of your body during the first trimester, things won’t be as simple by the third trimester.

This article will explore the best position to sleep during pregnancy and some of the understated facts that you didn’t know.

Why should you Mind the Sleeping Position during Pregnancy?

Pregnancy means that your body is not just responsible for your well-being but also for the growth and development of a fetus inside you.

So, everything you do during your gestational period will directly impact the developing baby inside the body. When it comes to sleeping position, which one you choose is primarily for your comfort as an expecting mother, but there are certain reasons why choosing the best sleeping position is good for the baby’s health in the long run.

When you ask your OBGYN about the best sleeping position, they’ll likely leave the decision up to you, the expecting mother.

Since you are bearing the child and supporting their growth, you must stay comfortable throughout the pregnancy. Choosing the right position ensures optimal sleep through the night without making you feel uncomfortable or in pain.

Another factor why choosing the right position for sleeping is important is ensuring blood circulation is never obstructed. Most doctors and researchers suggest sleeping on the left side as ideal because it provides optimal blood flow throughout the body.

However, changing positions throughout the night is also better to prevent leaving one side of the body feeling numb. If you are into your second or third trimester and the bump has grown considerably, avoiding sleeping on the back is ideal.

Sleeping on the back might be an acceptable sleeping position during pregnancy first 3 months but not later into the pregnancy. It elevates the risks of discomfort, stiffness, and back pain.

More about Side Sleeping – Which is Better?

Side sleeping is a preferred position, irrespective of whether you are pregnant. It ensures optimal blood circulation throughout the body and prevents the risks of discomfort or breathing-related complications.

The primary objective of why doctors encourage side-sleeping during pregnancy is to ensure correct blood flow through the body and to the developing fetus.

Although there are a lot of negativities surrounding “sleeping on the back” and there are studies that establish potential connections between this sleeping position with risks of miscarriage and stillbirth, there are not many conclusive studies that establish a solid connection yet.

Is Sleeping on Left Side Better?

Out of all the best sleeping positions for a pregnant woman, the left side is regarded as the best position.

The reason? It propels the smoother and regulated blood flow through the inferior vena cava, ensuring that the whole body is supplied with the required blood, including the fetus.

Reports also suggest that pregnant women who experience swelling of their hands, feet, and ankles find a lot of relief through the night when sleeping on the left side.

This sleeping position also prevents direct compression on some vital organs like the kidneys and liver, thereby keeping them in the best health.

Is Sleeping on the Right Side Better?

Given the kind of good name that “sleeping on the left side” has acquired, most women are confused about the other one.

Is it harmful if one sleeps on their right side during pregnancy? The answer is No.

Sleeping on right side during pregnancy isn’t fatal for the mother or the baby in any way. At least, there is no scientific evidence that proves that. Unlike the left side, sleeping on the right side might mildly compress the inferior vena cava, but it isn’t drastic or damaging to any extent.

That said, if you find sleeping on your right side comfortable during the pregnancy, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from doing so. After all, the degree of comfort during your sleep determines the quality of your sleep. So, choose what you think would be the most flexible and comfortable for you to sleep through the night.

Is Stomach Sleeping Safe during Pregnancy?

We have talked about sleeping on your back and sleeping on your side, but what about sleeping on your stomach? Is it safe?

Stomach sleeping isn’t ideal for the entire period of your pregnancy, especially as the bump grows and your baby keeps developing inside.

But, sleeping or resting on your stomach is considered safe until 16-18 weeks, up to 4-4.5 months of gestation. Since the bump doesn’t grow much by this period, you should be fine sleeping on your stomach without unconsciously hurting the baby.

However, if you are considering sleeping on your stomach, you need to ensure it’s on a soft, pillowy surface. Avoid sleeping directly on hard surfaces because that might induce pain, muscle stiffness, and potential risks to the fetus.


What happens if I sleep on my right side while pregnant?

Sleeping on the right side while pregnant is normal. It doesn’t drastically impact the health of the expecting mother or the baby. However, there are studies that indicate potential pregnancy complications with right-side sleeping, but the studies aren’t conclusive yet.

Can I sleep on my left side while pregnant?

Sleeping on the left side during pregnancy is considered the healthiest sleeping position that optimizes blood flow and prevents any potential risks.

Do I need a pregnancy pillow for sleeping?

Pregnancy pillows are a comfortable addition to the bedtime routine to make the expecting mother feel comfortable and find a position they can sleep in without feeling strain or stiffness in the body. Whether or not to buy one is a subjective decision.


Pregnancy introduces an onslaught of changes, including your sleeping position and schedule. If you are finding it hard to go to sleep, discuss the same with your OBGYN. Sometimes, it’s not just the sleeping position but a lot of accessory factors that could alter your sleep quality. We hope this article gives you a comprehensive outlook on the best sleeping position during pregnancy.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.


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