Can I Sleep on My Stomach When Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a unique and transformative time that often comes with many questions and concerns, particularly about sleep. I remember being surprised when I started as a registered nurse about just how many expecting mothers would ask me if they could continue their beloved stomach sleeping, worried about whether it was still safe as their pregnancy progressed. As a registered nurse, I’ve been asked this question countless times.

In the early stages of pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach is generally safe. However, as your belly grows, it becomes uncomfortable and impractical. By the second trimester, it’s best to transition to safer sleeping positions, such as left-side sleeping.

Is It Safe to Sleep on Your Stomach During Early Pregnancy? 

Woman sleeping on her left side with pregnancy pillow

In the first trimester, sleeping on your stomach is perfectly safe. Your baby is well-protected by the uterine walls and amniotic fluid, so there’s no risk of harm. 

However, as your pregnancy progresses, your growing belly will make this position less comfortable and eventually impractical. Medical professionals generally agree that there’s no need to worry about stomach sleeping in the early weeks.

When Does Stomach Sleeping Become Difficult During Pregnancy?

Woman sleeping on right side while pregnant with maternity pillow placed under her belly

As your baby bump grows, typically around the second trimester, stomach sleeping becomes uncomfortable. Your expanding uterus makes it physically challenging to lie on your stomach.

Many women find that by the middle of their pregnancy, they naturally shift to side sleeping. This change is your body’s way of signalling the need for a different sleeping position that accommodates your growing baby.

What Are the Risks of Sleeping on Your Stomach While Pregnant?

While stomach sleeping is safe in the early stages, it’s not recommended as your pregnancy progresses. The main issue is discomfort rather than risk. As your belly grows, stomach sleeping can cause unnecessary strain

Simply put, compared to side sleeping, stomach sleeping offers fewer benefits and more potential for discomfort.

What Are the Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy?

Pregnant woman sitting on couch with her pregnancy pillow

Side sleeping, particularly on your left side, is often recommended during pregnancy. This position improves blood flow to your heart and your baby, reduces pressure on your liver, and helps prevent swelling in your legs and feet. 

While right-side sleeping is also safe, left-side sleeping is considered the gold standard. It’s also important to avoid sleeping on your back, especially in the third trimester, to prevent compressing the vena cava, a major blood vessel that can restrict blood flow.

How Can a Pregnancy Pillow Help Maintain a Safe Sleeping Position?

pregnant woman placing maternity pillow onto bed

Pregnancy pillows are a game-changer for many expectant mothers. They come in various shapes, such as C-shaped, U-shaped, and wedge-shaped, and provide support where you need it most. 

A wedge pillow, like our Butterfly Maternity Pillow®, can help you transition from stomach sleeping by providing support to your belly and back, keeping you comfortably on your side. These pillows are designed to prevent you from rolling onto your back, ensuring you maintain a safe sleeping position throughout the night.

Are There Any Exceptions or Special Considerations?

Every pregnancy is unique, so it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for personalised advice. If you have specific medical conditions or concerns, your doctor can recommend the best sleeping positions for you.

Additionally, some women may need to make adjustments based on their comfort levels and individual needs. Listening to your body and seeking professional guidance is always the best approach.

FAQs About Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

Can I sleep on my stomach in the first trimester?

Yes, it is generally safe to sleep on your stomach during the first trimester. Your baby is well-protected by the uterine walls and amniotic fluid.

When should I stop sleeping on my stomach during pregnancy?

Most women find stomach sleeping uncomfortable by the second trimester. It’s best to transition to side sleeping around this time.

What are the best sleeping positions for pregnant women?

Side sleeping, especially on the left side, is recommended. This position promotes better blood flow and reduces pressure on vital organs.

Can a pregnancy pillow help me stop sleeping on my stomach?

Yes, pregnancy pillows can provide support and help you transition to side sleeping. They are designed to keep you comfortable and in the correct position.

Is sleeping on your right side while pregnant bad?

No, sleeping on your right side is generally safe, though left-side sleeping is preferred. Left-side sleeping offers better circulation benefits.

What positions should be avoided during pregnancy?

Avoid sleeping on your back, especially in the third trimester. This position can put pressure on the vena cava and reduce blood flow.

Closing Thoughts

Finding the right sleeping position during pregnancy is crucial for your comfort and your baby’s health. While it’s safe to sleep on your stomach in the early stages, transitioning to side sleeping, especially on your left side, is recommended as your pregnancy progresses. 

Pregnancy pillow on display with white background in wedge shape


At Butterfly Maternity, we understand the importance of a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Our Butterfly Maternity Pillow® is designed to help you maintain a safe and comfortable side-sleeping position, providing targeted support where you need it most.

Check out our high-quality maternity pillows and experience the difference for yourself. Sweet dreams and comfy nights await! 

*The shape of the Butterfly Maternity Pillow® is a registered trade mark of Weekly Sales Pty Ltd


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