How to Sleep Well During Pregnancy

Andrea Pisani Babich from Mattress Advisor shared that  the warm feeling of new life growing in your belly; the knowing smiles from family, friends and strangers as they congratulate you on your leap into this miraculous adventure of a lifetime; the anxious anticipation of adding a new person to your family — there is no other time in your life when you will feel so revered and honored as when you are pregnant.

Too bad Mother Nature didn’t get the memo! Along with all the wonders of pregnancy come a few unpleasantries that herald the arrival of the tiny newcomer who is about to rock your world. Frequent bathroom breaks too numerous to count, new aches and pains, unabated nausea, and an ever-widening girth can make this prelude into motherhood challenges. And all of these bumps on the smooth road into motherhood can make a good night’s sleep a thing of the past.

For most women, figuring out how to sleep well during pregnancy is just one of the many challenges that make motherhood the toughest job you’ll ever love. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 78% of women reported more sleep disturbances during pregnancy than at any other time in their lives. Do you know what that means? Well, for one thing, you’re not the only one tossing and turning at night. But it also means the sleep challenges don’t last forever.

And there’s more good news. There are steps you can take to minimize sleep disruptions and help you get the best possible sleep during your pregnancy. And, of course, at the end of nine months or so, you’ll be cradling a beautiful bundle of love and joy in your arms.

10 sleep challenges during pregnancy and how to address them

Let’s take a look at the ten most common sleep snatchers and how you can stop them from robbing you of precious sleep.


There’s a whole lotta growing goin’ on inside your body. You will soon notice not only your baby bump but a fuller figure all around. That means your favorite sleep positions may not work for you anymore. And they may be downright dangerous.

  • Stomach sleeping. It won’t take long before your fuller belly and breasts make it impossible to get comfortable in a prone position. After 18 weeks or so, the pressure on your uterus from lying on your stomach will constrict your inferior vena cava, which carries blood from your legs to your heart, leading to poor blood flow for you and your baby.
  • Back sleeping. Flipping over onto your back is not a good alternative since back sleeping during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, puts pressure on major blood vessels like your aorta and vena cava. A recent study in the U.K. found that sleeping on your back during the third trimester doubles the risk of stillbirth, possibly because of this decrease in circulation.

What you can do

SOS — sleep on the side — specifically, sleeping on your left side, is the best position for sleeping well and healthfully during your pregnancy. This position increases your blood flow and relieves pressure on your back. Several additional pillows can help. Put one between your knees to keep your hips aligned, one behind you to support your back, and one under your belly to support the baby’s weight. Or snuggle up to a body pillow to fill some of these supporting roles.



As your baby grows, your uterus begins to push on your diaphragm and lungs, making it difficult to breathe while you sleep.

What you can do

Using pillows to prop yourself into a semi-reclined position is a safe and comfortable alternative to the SOS position that takes the pressure off your lungs. In addition to propping up your upper body, place a pillow under your knees and one under each arm to prevent them from falling asleep.


Morning sickness? Try “morning-noon-and-night sickness.” While it’s not harmful to you or your baby unless it is severe, nausea will rob you of sleep and that can be harmful to both of you.

What you can do

There are several ways to combat morning sickness that comes at night:

  • Eat dinner earlier in the evening to allow ample time for digestion and avoid lying down after eating.
  • Eat six smaller meals instead of three throughout the day so your stomach always has something in it.
  • Nibble on plain crackers during the night if necessary and eat a few before rising in the morning.
  • Sleep in a semi-reclined position to increase circulation.

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