Sleeping Positions That Cause Miscarriage: A Pregnant Woman’s Guide

When it comes to pregnancy, there are many dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Like, you can enjoy several foods during your normal routine, but you must avoid them during pregnancy. In pregnancy, alcohol, smoking, coffee, fish, unpasteurized milk, cheese, raw eggs, etc., should be avoided. Similarly, several habits should be avoided during pregnancy, no matter how much you enjoy them. During pregnancy, heavy lifting, running, wrestling, boxing, climbing and other sports are prohibited.

Aside from these precautions, sleeping positions during pregnancy are our main concern. Is there any sleeping position that can cause miscarriage?

Many of us consider stomach and back sleeping unsafe during pregnancy. Miscarriage is believed to result from them, but is this actually true? It’s not true at all. In most cases, back sleeping does not cause any complications during pregnancy. In contrast, sleeping on your back after your third trimester is not recommended. 

Continuing reading will inform you more about this.

Studies have shown that laying on your back while pregnant in the third trimester puts pressure on your main blood pressure and reduces the blood supply to the fetus.

Is There Any Sleeping Position that Can Cause Miscarriage?

Pregnant women need to pay more attention to their daily activities to maintain their own and their child’s health. Among pregnant women, sleeping position is a hot topic. It is unclear to many of them whether their sleeping positions can also pose a threat to their child’s life. During pregnancy, front or stomach sleeping and back sleeping are usually controversial. Let’s find out if these positions are actually life-threatening for unborn children?

Stomach Sleeping

Can you sleep on your stomach when you are pregnant? Most of us do not consider sleeping on the stomach while pregnant to be safe. Do you think that’s true? Does sleeping on the stomach increase the risk of miscarriage? No, not really.

Stomach sleeping does not increase any risk factor of miscarriage. It is safe to sleep on your stomach during your first trimester. Pregnant women can sleep on their stomachs up to four or five months into their pregnancy without any risk.

stomach-sleeping

The concept that stomach sleeping puts pressure on the baby prevents many of us from sleeping on our stomachs. Nevertheless, this isn’t the case. During pregnancy, the amniotic sac along with the uterine walls protects the fetus from these slight pressures. There will never be any squishing of the baby as a result of this.

Four or five months after conception, a pregnant woman’s bump begins to protrude outside. It makes stomach sleeping a bit difficult and uncomfortable. The feeling is similar to sleeping on a football that is restless and unreliable. Still, it doesn’t cause miscarriages.

Under your stomach, you can use a soft pillow if you want to sleep on your stomach after 16 to 18 weeks of pregnancy. There are firm inflatable pillows with rounded cutouts in the middle that are available for pregnant women. During late pregnancy, these pillows can make stomach sleeping more comfortable.

Back Sleeping

Women often have confusion, can pregnant women sleep on their sleep or wrong sleeping position can cause miscarriage? During the first trimester, it is generally considered safe to sleep on your back. In the later stages of pregnancy, back sleeping can increase the chance of miscarriage. 

Studies have shown that laying on your back while pregnant in the third trimester puts pressure on your main blood pressure and reduces the blood supply to the fetus. Consequently, the fetus receives less oxygen and food, which can lead to serious complications. This sleeping position can result in hemorrhoid’s, pain, lethargy, drowsiness, indigestion, and poor circulation in addition to pregnancy complications.

back-sleeping

It has been reported that sleeping on your back while pregnant can even lead to stillbirth. However, these studies are not complete. When sleeping all night on your back, many other factors can cause stillbirth, including sleep apnea (a disorder involving disruption of breathing).

Even so, it is not recommended to sleep on your back after the first trimester. It has been shown that avoiding this sleeping position reduces the risk of miscarriage.

Now, what if you are a solid sleeper and shift your sleeping position to back unconsciously? It’s nothing to worry about. You can use a pillow at your side, so whenever you try to shift on your back, this pillow diverts your position.

What Are the Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy?

As a mother, you must know what are safe sleeping positions during pregnancy. Sleeping on the side is usually recommended as a healthy sleeping position for a pregnant woman. It is more strictly prescribed by the doctors as pregnancy goes on. 

You must be wondering, what is there in the side sleeping which makes it healthy for the unborn child? Actually, the risk of compression of blood vessels supplying toward the uterus increases as the size of the fetus gets increasing. This lead to reduced blood flow toward the fetus. Similarly, sleeping on your back can further narrow the main blood vessel, reducing the blood supply to your uterus. Therefore, sleeping on your side is preferred.

sleeping-position-that-can-cause-miscarriage

During cesarean deliveries, also called c-sections, or during labour with abnormal heartbeats, doctors tilt their patients while they are lying down. This is also just to maintain the blood flow.

Research has found that back sleeping can lead to stillbirths or miscarriages after 7 months of pregnancy. Still, the evidence about whether lying flat on your back while pregnant increases your risk of stillbirth is mixed. Without monitoring, identifying what is happening in utero can be difficult.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding sleeping positions and pregnancy, side positions are still preferred. There are two types of side positions: left side and right side. Let’s examine the effects of both positions during pregnancy.

Sleeping on Your Left Side

In pregnancy, sleeping on your left side is often referred to as the “ideal” position. Why do pregnant women sleep on their left? It is because sleeping on your left side during pregnancy reduces the risk of compression of blood vessels supplying the fetus.

The fetus can be able to get maximum blood flow from the inferior vena cava if the mother is positioned on the left side during lying down. Located on the right side of the spine, the inferior vena cava carries blood to your heart and, consequently, to your baby.

Additionally, sleeping on your left side relieves pressure on your liver and kidneys. You will be able to function properly with less swelling in your hands, ankles, and feet when you have more room to function.

Sleeping on your left will also reduce the stress on your growing belly. If you feel uncomfortable sleeping on your left side, you can use a soft, fluffy pillow on the side.

Sleeping on Your Right Side

The right side sleeping during pregnancy has the same impact as sleeping on the left side. According to some studies, sleeping on the right side can put pressure on the inferior vena cave, which can reduce blood flow to the heart and the fetus. However, this is not always the case.

It depends on the patient, if she feels more comfortable on the right side, no worries. During pregnancy, the right side is also a suitable position for sleeping.

Ideal Sleeping Position: How to Make It Work?

Side sleeping may not be for you, but here are some tips for making it more natural or at least more comfortable.

During First Trimester

Sleeping on your back or front and on either your left or right side are fine positions to sleep when pregnant during the first trimester. You can enjoy any position you are used to while sleeping.

But if you want to get into a habit of prescribed positions for upcoming trimesters, you can start sleeping on your side with a pillow between the legs. Your hips and lower body may feel more comfortable after doing this.

A memory foam orthopaedic knee pillow would be a nice addition if you want to be a little extra comfort.

During Second Trimester

In the second trimester, your belly grows out a little bit. Try to avoid back sleeping a little bit and get used to side positioning while sleeping. 

Your mattress should not be too soft to sag your back. It must be firm enough to support your belly and back while sleeping. Besides the firm mattresses, pillows made specifically for pregnant women can also be used. To help you sleep on your side, they come in U or C shapes.

This kind of pillow is placed usually along your back, embraced in the front and slipped between your knees as you sleep.

During Third Trimester

Sleeping on your side is the best position during the third trimester of pregnancy. Try to avoid back sleeping totally. Support yourself with a pregnancy pillow. When you have a growing belly, wedge pillows may be a more comfortable alternative. To prevent rolling, you can place them under your belly and behind your back.

Try propping your upper body at a 45-degree angle with pillows if you can’t sleep on your side. This will prevent the compression of the inferior vena cava and in turn, will maintain the blood flow. 

Sleeping Tips During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, sometimes, it becomes difficult to sleep with a growing belly. There are some mothers who start taking medicines or herbal remedies in order to sleep well, but this should be avoided to the fullest extent possible. It can be dangerous for both the unborn child and the mother. A mother can enjoy better sleep by adopting just a few habits. The following tips will assist mothers in sleeping better.

  • Pregnant women should use pillows made specifically for them. Most of these pillows come in a C or U shape to aid the growing belly for a peaceful night’s sleep. When lying down, rolled-up blankets can also be used to provide support under your belly, between your legs, or at your back.
  • Sleeping on the left side is an ideal position for a pregnant woman. If you can, sleep on your right for a shorter period of time. This will relieve pressure points in your hips and allow you to sleep better.
  • Pregnant women should maintain a regular sleep schedule and practise good sleep hygiene. You may be able to improve your sleep by avoiding caffeine and engaging in a relaxing activity at night.
  • You should avoid heavy dinners or sleep just after dinner. A heavy meal can cause heartburn, nausea, and even vomiting, which are uncomfortable and painful at bedtime.
  • People can sometimes get better sleep by switching sides of their beds while they lay down. If you are not getting enough sleep, you should also try this.

Insomnia During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?

Many women experience insomnia during the whole duration of pregnancy. First and third trimesters are more likely to suffer from insomnia. This can be due to a number of reasons or symptoms that occur more often during pregnancy. 

Nausea, vomiting, back pain, breast tenderness, abdominal discomfort, frequent urination, and heartburn are more likely to occur at night during pregnancy. This can lead to continuous sleep disturbance or insomnia at night. The delivery or labour process can also be stressful for women. A lack of adequate sleep can also be caused by these thoughts.

During pregnancy, a woman who will not able to get proper sleep feels exhausted all day and can suffer from insomnia. Although insomnia will be very uncomfortable for the mother, it cannot cause any risk to the unborn child. So there is no need to worry about a child’s health while suffering from insomnia.

How to Relieve Insomnia During Pregnancy?

Insomnia during pregnancy can be relieved by developing some healthy habits. Here is a list of the things you should do to avoid insomnia and sleep better during pregnancy.

  • Develop a proper sleep schedule. Set a proper bedtime for the night. Maintain a regular sleep schedule every night. You will be able to sleep better if you go to bed early.
  • Avoid screen time from TV, mobiles, and other electronics. Blue light from these devices can affect your circadian rhythm. Rather than using these products, read books instead.
  • Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine. It is advisable to reduce water intake a little bit after 7 p.m. Heavy meals should be avoided at night. During sleep, it can cause nausea and heartburn.
  • Relax and do things that make you feel comfortable. Take the time to read books, go outside for just the change of climate, and do activities that make you feel better.

Note About The Baby’s Gender

There is a myth that your sleep side determines the gender of your baby. There is no truth to this urban legend. Studies have not shown that sleep position correlates with a baby’s gender.

FAQs

Question: Can sleep position cause miscarriage in early pregnancy?

Answer: No, any sleeping position cannot cause miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, you are free to sleep on any side of your body. In the third trimester of pregnancy, you should sleep on your left side as that is an ideal position for sleeping. In late pregnancy, sleeping on the back can compress the main blood vessel supplying the fetus. However, stomach and side sleeping cannot cause miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy.

Question: Can sleeping on your stomach cause miscarriage?

Answer: No, sleeping on the stomach cannot cause miscarriage. Late in pregnancy, however, sleeping on the stomach can be uncomfortable due to the growing belly. Additionally, pregnancy pillows are available with cuts in the middle to relieve women’s discomfort when sleeping on their fronts during pregnancy. Even so, sleeping on your left side during your third trimester is an ideal scenario.

Question: Which sleeping position is not good during pregnancy?

Answer: Back sleeping is often not recommended during pregnancy. It is not considered a good posture for sleeping because it can cause the constriction of the main blood vessels supplying blood to the uterus. Consequently, a fetus’ blood supply can be reduced, resulting in complications.

Question: Can sleeping on your back cause miscarriage?

Answer: Studies have shown that risks of miscarriage or stillbirth are more in women who used to sleep on their back during pregnancy as compared to those who avoid this position. This is because the back sleeping results in reduced blood supply to the fetus by compressing the blood vessels.

Conclusion

Is there any sleeping position that can cause miscarriage? Back sleeping should be avoided in late pregnancy. All other sleeping positions do not pose any risk of miscarriage for a pregnant woman. Among four different sleeping positions, sleeping on the left side is considered the healthiest position for pregnancy. This position boosts the blood supply to the fetus and reduces the pressure on the liver and kidneys. Back sleeping on the other hand can cause compression of blood vessels thus reducing blood supply. It is also fine to sleep on your right side or on your front side.

Dr Umme Hurayra

Dr Umme Hurayra

Hi, I'm Umme Hurayra. I am currently studying MBBS in Mymensingh Medical College. Medical science is an incredible thing. I like to share my knowledge with everyone.

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