Safe Sleeping Positions During Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

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The second trimester is usually considered one of the most comfortable periods of pregnancy. The uncomfortable symptoms of the first trimester usually settle down by this time, and your belly is not as big as it will be in the third trimester. However, if you have a troubled sleep during this time, you could try some of the suggested sleeping positions during the second trimester of pregnancy to have a more comfortable night.

While some health conditions may lead to disturbed sleep in the second trimester, these sleeping positions can help you attain the needed rest. Read on to learn about the causes for disturbed sleep in the second trimester, some tips that may help you sleep better, the best sleeping positions, and some sleep positions you should avoid for a safe and uneventful pregnancy.

Reasons For Lack Of Sleep In The Second Trimester

While your second trimester may be the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, you’re bound to have a few minor sleep issues. You may suffer from:

Leg cramps, congestion, snoring, sleep apnea, vivid dreams, heartburn, indigestion, cramps and restless leg syndrome.

Apart from the above pregnancy troubles, your hormonal levels will come to stable. Your womb will move up away from the pelvis, taking off the pressure from the bladder. Therefore, you will have fewer nature calls during the night. You may notice your little one turning more active, especially in the evenings. They will start squirming and kicking when you settle down to sleep.

List down all these worries that are troubling your sleep and discuss them with your healthcare professional. You should also start a proper sleep routine that can help you sleep properly (1).

Avoid using sleep aids, such as over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements, without consulting a doctor (8).

What Are The Best Sleeping Positions During The Second Trimester?

Pregnant woman sleeping on one side

Image: Shutterstock

The best sleep position is “SOS”, i.e., sleeping on the side. Even better is to sleep on your left. Lying on your left side will improve the supply of blood and nutrients to the placenta and fetus. To be comfortable, lie with your knees up and pillows placed between your knees. It will keep the pressure off the muscles around the hip and pelvic regions. You can make some adjustments if you feel any discomfort when sleeping on the left side (1) (2).

  • If you have a severe back pain, lie on your left side with a pillow under your abdomen.
  • If you have any burning sensation in your heart, try to give support to your upper body using pillows.
  • You may also experience shortness of breath. To overcome this, you can offer support with pillows.

The above suggestions may sound uncomfortable to you when you like to sleep on your stomach or back. But after the first trimester, it is not at all a good idea to sleep either on the stomach or back.

What Sleep Positions Should You Avoid?

Pregnant woman sleeping on her back

Image: iStock

  1. Sleeping on your back: When your bump grows bigger, sleeping on your back can cause a backache, breathing difficulties, digestion problems, low blood pressure and hemorrhoids. It is because of your abdomen lying on the intestines and blood vessels. It can, therefore, cause a drop in blood circulation to your heart and fetus (2).
  2. Sleeping on your stomach: With the progressing pregnancy, your abdomen may undergo many changes that make it more difficult to lie on the stomach (2).

What Are Some Tips To Sleep Better During The Second Trimester?

Pregnant woman eating light dinner

Image: Shutterstock

While it’s very rare that you may experience sleep problems during the second trimester, here are some tips to help you sleep better at this time (3) (4).

  1. Regular Bedtime

Maintaining a regular sleep time will help you sleep well. Sleep early and wake up early. Schedule your daily routine accordingly.

  1. Avoid Watching TV Right Before Sleep

Studies have found that such habits tend to interfere with sleep schedules and make you more likely to be affected by sleeping problems, especially insomnia.

  1. Relax Before Sleeping

Best way to handle this is to try relaxation techniques before sleeping. Listen to soothing music or have a warm bath. This will help your body get into a calm state and help you sleep.

  1. Avoid Spicy Foods

Eating spicy foods every day will increase your risk of being affected by heartburn. This may lead to sleepless nights. Instead you can have a glass of warm milk or herbal tea.

  1. Consume Light Dinner

It is always better to have a light and healthy dinner, minus fried or fatty foods. Overeating is a strict no-no during all stages of pregnancy.

  1. Lie Down On A Clean Bed

Studies have revealed how sleeping on clean surroundings and surfaces can improve the quality of sleep and makes it easier to doze off. So ensure your bed is made as per your comfort everyday for you to relax and enjoy a good sleep.

Quick tip
According to Grace Pien, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, making the next day’s to-do lists before bedtime can help avoid stress, which is essential for a peaceful sleep (9).

Can Exercise Help?

Pregnant woman doing simple exercise

Image: Shutterstock

Yes, it’s true! Exercise can actually help you sleep better. If you haven’t been exercising already, now’s the time to start. Exercising is believed to boost both physical and mental health, which helps you get a good night’s sleep. But exercise in the morning or evening, not just before you go to bed (5)

These tips on sleeping positions during the second trimester could help if you are dealing with sleep problems during pregnancy. Further, you may avoid caffeinated beverages before bedtime as it could make you feel charged up and leave you feeling restless and active, making it difficult to fall asleep. Having a set nighttime schedule, avoiding spicy foods in dinner, choosing the most-suited sleeping position, and practicing some pregnancy exercises are ideal techniques that can facilitate a good night’s sleep during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should pregnant women not sleep on the right side?

Although previous studies showed certain increased risks for pregnancy complications with right-side sleeping, there isn’t enough evidence to confirm the results. Further studies found no increased risk for complications in the right-side sleeping position than on the left side. Hence, you may consult your Ob/Gyn about safe sleeping positions to avoid potential risks (6).

2. How long can I lay on my back while pregnant?

Although it may not be possible to estimate the exact number of hours you can safely sleep on your back while pregnant, laying on your back for an hour or two most likely would not threaten your baby (7).


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