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Your sleep position during pregnancy

Some people may need to rethink their sleep position during pregnancy.

If you tend to sleep on your back, this is safe to do during the first trimester (the first 12 weeks). As your bump grows in size and weight, you’ll need to move onto your side though. It’s best to get into this habit as soon as you can if you aren’t used to it.

Try to sleep on your side with your knees bent, as this will ease the pressure on your uterus, relieve backache and help you to breathe easier. It’s fine to use pillows around your bump, back and legs if you want to.

By the third trimester (after 28 weeks), sleeping on your side is the safest position for your baby and prevents the risk of stillbirth. Sleeping on your back during this time can restrict blood flow and oxygen to your baby.

If you wake up on your back, don’t be alarmed, just roll back over onto your side. You can’t control what position you are in once you’re asleep and, if your bump is large, being on your back is likely to be uncomfortable enough for you to naturally move onto your side before long anyway.

The important thing is that you remember to fall asleep on your side (including for daytime naps), as you spend the longest amount of time in the position you fall asleep in.

Useful links

Tommy’s – Sleep position in pregnancy Q&A

Page last reviewed: 22-06-2022

Next review due: 22-06-2025