Sleeping Safely & Comfortably with Your Bump: Trimester by Trimester

Knowing how to sleep during pregnancy is a tricky thing to navigate, especially for first-time mums.

As your body changes and grows to support the life growing inside you, finding a comfortable position to sleep in can become increasingly difficult.

But fear not. We've put together some of our best tips and tricks to help you sleep safely and comfortably with your bump, trimester by trimester. So, let's find out how to sleep during pregnancy* with pictures to help.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • UK Health experts recommend sleeping on your left side during pregnancy to help increase blood flow to the uterus and foetus.
  • Using pillows for support can make adjusting your sleep position easier during the later stages of pregnancy and improve your sleep.
  • Finding the ideal sleeping position is essential for both your comfort and safety.
  • Sleeping on your back can cause pain in your back and increase the pressure on your heart.

What's the Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy?

As you progress through your pregnancy, finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes more challenging.

However, the general consensus among healthcare professionals is that sleeping on your side is the best position, particularly during the second and third trimesters.

Start by placing a pregnancy pillow between your knees to align your hips and relieve pressure on your lower back. You can also tuck another pillow behind your back for additional support and to prevent you from rolling onto your back as you sleep.

As your bump grows, consider using a full-length body pillow, like the SnüzCurve, to provide support along the length of your body or a wedge pillow to offer extra cushioning for your belly. These adjustments help maintain a neutral spine position and reduce strain on your abdomen, allowing for a more restful night's sleep.

This position improves circulation, aids kidney function, and reduces swelling. It's also beneficial for maximising the amount of nutrients and blood that reach the placenta and your baby.

Is the Left or Right Side Best?

Many health experts recommend sleeping on your left side as it’s thought to provide the best circulation to the heart, which benefits both mother and baby.

This position may also help to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins, haemorrhoids, and sciatica.

However, it's important to remember that while the left side might be preferable, changing positions throughout the night is both common and normal, and sleeping on the right side is also safe if it is more comfortable for you.


Sleeping Positions to Avoid While Pregnant

Of course, while sleeping on your side is the ideal position when you're pregnant, there are also some positions that you should attempt to avoid to help protect the health of both you and your baby.

Back Sleeping

Avoid sleeping on your back as it can cause backaches, breathing issues, digestion problems, haemorrhoids, and low blood pressure and can decrease circulation to your heart and your baby.

If you find yourself rolling onto your back during the night, invest in a pregnancy pillow or create a barrier with pillows to prevent you from moving from your side so easily.


Stomach Sleeping

When it comes to pregnancy, it's generally advised to avoid sleeping on your stomach. This position can potentially exert strain on the uterus and interfere with the blood flow to your developing baby.

Also, as your bump grows, it may become progressively more challenging and uncomfortable to find this a comfortable sleeping position. Therefore, it's important to prioritise alternative sleeping positions as soon as possible to provide optimal comfort and support throughout your pregnancy journey.


How to Find a Comfortable Sleep Position: Trimester by Trimester

Each trimester of your pregnancy presents different challenges when it comes to maintaining your health and ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

We've broken recommended sleep positions down by trimester to help you get the best night's sleep throughout your pregnancy.

First Trimester

During the first trimester, many women don't experience significant changes in their abdomen size, which often allows more flexibility in sleeping positions.

While side sleeping is recommended, it's still early enough that you may sleep on your stomach or back comfortably. However, beginning to practise side sleeping can be beneficial as it sets a good pattern for the later stages of pregnancy.

Utilising a full-body pregnancy pillow can help transition into this position more easily by providing support and comfort, promoting good alignment, and helping you become accustomed to side sleeping before it becomes a necessity.


Second Trimester

The second trimester is when your baby bump begins to show more prominently, making it imperative to adopt a safe and comfortable sleeping position.

Side sleeping is increasingly important during this stage, especially on the left side, to promote optimal blood flow.

To enhance comfort, consider using a pregnancy pillow or a few strategically placed regular pillows – one between your legs to support your hips and another under your abdomen to alleviate any pressure.

Some women find relief by placing a compact pillow behind their back to prevent rolling onto it.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, the baby bump reaches its largest size, which means finding a sleeping position that offers maximum comfort and safety is crucial.

It's important to continue sleeping on your side, and using extra pillows for support becomes even more significant. Consider investing in a pregnancy pillow at this stage, as it can provide tailored support for your stomach, back, and legs.

If you experience heartburn, try elevating your upper body slightly using pillows to minimise discomfort and ensure a more peaceful night's sleep.

Throughout the night, you may need to make frequent adjustments. Remember to listen to your body and switch sides or adjust your pillow arrangement if a position becomes uncomfortable. This will help you find relief and maintain healthy blood flow and rest.


Risks of Tiredness & Sleep Problems in Pregnancy

The risks associated with tiredness and sleep problems during pregnancy are not to be underestimated.

A lack of quality rest can contribute to several health issues, both for the expectant mother and the developing baby.

For the Mother

Chronic sleep deprivation in pregnant women can increase the risk of...

Chronic Sleep Deprivation RisksDescription
Gestational DiabetesIncreased risk due to chronic sleep deprivation in pregnant women
PreeclampsiaHigher likelihood of developing pre-eclampsia
Prolonged LabourRisk of longer labour duration
Premature LabourIncreased chance of premature labour
Exacerbated Mood SwingsMore severe mood swings
DepressionHigher risk of experiencing depression
Impair Cognitive FunctionsPotential impairment in cognitive abilities

For the Developing Baby

Maternal sleep disturbances can be linked with potential impacts on foetal health and development. Chronic maternal sleep deprivation may be associated with…

Maternal Sleep DisturbancesPotential Impact
Lower Birth WeightAssociated with chronic maternal sleep deprivation
Interruption of Normal Foetal DevelopmentPotential disruption in normal development
Increased Likelihood of Caesarean SectionHigher chance of needing a caesarean section
Higher Risk of Preterm BirthGreater risk of the baby being born prematurely
Long-term Cognitive & Physical Development ImpactsPotential for lasting effects on the child’s cognitive and physical development

While the precise mechanisms are still being researched, ensuring adequate rest is considered a vital component of prenatal care.

Sleep Better During Pregnancy With Snüz

Achieving restful sleep while navigating the changes of pregnancy is crucial for the health and comfort of both the expectant mother and the baby.

Following the recommendations for appropriate sleeping positions and making use of supportive accessories like pregnancy pillows can immensely improve sleep quality. Prioritising sleep and understanding the potential risks of sleep deprivation is a pillar of prenatal care.

For more detailed insights on finding the optimal moment to transition away from back sleeping, don't miss our blog post, When to Stop Sleeping on Your Back During Pregnancy: Your Questions Answered, where we delve deeper into this important topic for your utmost safety and comfort.

*The advice and information in this blog should only be taken under the advice of your GP or OB/GYN. These professionals know the specifics of your pregnancy, so they can give you the most appropriate advice.


The optimal sleeping position in pregnancy is on your side – especially the left side – as it enhances circulation to your heart and baby, which helps to alleviate potential issues like backaches and haemorrhoids. Use pillows for support and comfort.

In the early stages of pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach is generally safe if you find it comfortable. However, as your pregnancy progresses and your bump grows, you’ll likely need to switch to side sleeping to avoid discomfort and ensure adequate blood flow to your baby..

Reducing tiredness in pregnancy involves prioritising rest, maintaining a healthy diet with adequate iron and hydration, creating a calming bedtime routine, and incorporating short, frequent breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Listen to your body and consult your healthcare provider for personalised advice.

While lying on a pregnant belly is not recommended due to potential discomfort and pressure on the uterus, light contact, such as resting a hand on the belly, is generally considered safe. Always prioritise comfort and consult your healthcare provider regarding any concerns.

Latest Articles