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Comfortable sleeping positions in the third trimester of pregnancy

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Finding comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy can be a tough task! But before we get there, let's take a pause. You have finally made it to the third and the last trimester of your pregnancy journey! Give yourself a pat on the back for this achievement because you totally deserve it!



This is the stage when your baby starts getting bigger and well, you do have some troubles due to it. The little human in your tummy is the size of a butternut squash now!

Your body will now find ways to deal with a plethora of changes happening internally. Though you won’t experience any vivid symptoms, you may find it uncomfortable to sleep, especially if you are going to be a first-time mom. You might be intrigued to know that your sleeping position during the third trimester is actually very crucial; mostly because your tummy is now growing larger to accommodate your growing baby.  

We have decoded the exact positions that could help you sleep comfortably and ensure that your baby is safe too.  

Understanding best sleeping positions during the third trimester  

It is said that throughout your entire pregnancy journey, the ideal sleeping position for you is to sleep on your left side. It is believed that this allows the right passage of blood and nutrients to your little one and it also keeps you away from feeling all the unwanted symptoms of pregnancy that you have been battling so far.

Grandma’s Tip: Believe me when I say this, sleeping on your back during pregnancy will cause you more nausea and morning sickness, so try to avoid it. I know, I know! Majority of us women have the habit of sleeping on our back or on our tummy (this one’s even worse), but during pregnancy, my dear, try to change this habit for your own good and your baby’s.

If you are not comfortable sleeping on your left side, it͛ is always better to start sleeping in this position while you are trying to conceive to avoid the uneasiness later. In fact, this is a sound advice you can give to anyone you know who are trying to conceive.

‘Why do I keep feeling the need to go to the washroom?’  

Feels like you are time-traveling to the very first days of your pregnancy, doesn’t it? Because back then it had felt like you spent a major time in the washroom, battling the morning sickness and other things, and here you are back to square one again! The only difference? This time it’s due to your growing baby who is putting a lot of pressure on your bladder.

It’s imperative for you to stay hydrated all the time in pregnancy, so don’t even think of cutting down on your fluids intake now just because you feel the urge to go the loo more often. Consume non-caffeinated drinks as much as you can and keep drinking lots of water. 

However, limiting your fluids intake during the late evening. Add to that, rock yourself back and forth when you are in the loo, as this would help you empty your bladder completely.

Common sleep disturbances in the third trimester

As obvious as it is, the most common concern that you would have regarding your sleeping position is your baby bump that may sometimes feel like a planet of its own (not exaggerating!). It is growing so big that it can often hinder you from sleeping comfortably and with your constant urge to go to the washroom, it is going to be another hindrance in your sleep.

Other than these issues, other things that can bug you at night and keep you up are:

  • Cramps in the legs

  • Not-so-good vivid dreams

  • A backache

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Heartburn

  • Itching

  • Frequent movements of your baby

The Sleep on Side position, commonly referred to as SOS position, is your ideal sleep position in pregnancy. And from both the sides, sleeping on the left one is the best.

Keep your knees and legs slightly bent as you turn to your left side to sleep and place a pillow between your legs. This position helps in increasing the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your placenta and finally gets to your baby.

In case you are having troubles with a backache, take another pillow and place it right under your abdomen, while sleeping on your left side with a pillow between your legs.

If you feel like you are having a heartburn in the night, try to prop your upper body up with some pillows. In this later stage of pregnancy, you are likely to experience some shortness of breath. If that happens, keep yourself propped up with the pillows or lie down on your side. While these tips will give you some relief, it may or may not completely help with vanishing your discomfort. But in most cases, these little hacks do help with easing out some of the discomforts during sleep.

What sleep positions during pregnancy should you avoid?  

Here are some sleeping positions that you should definitely avoid in the third trimester. It is the best for your health and your baby's.

Sleeping on your back:  

The reason why this is not a good sleep position for you now is that it can intensify or cause problems with a backache, your digestive system, breathing, give you a low blood pressure, haemorrhoids, and can also lead to a decrease in circulation to your own heart and your baby’s. This happens because by sleeping on your back, you let your abdomen rest on your intestines and major blood vessels, the aorta, and the vena cava.

Sleeping on your stomach:  

Even when you envision a sight of sleeping on your stomach with that baby bump, it makes you cringe, doesn’t it? Well, that in itself is enough for you to not opt for this sleeping position at this stage. Your abdomen is going through a list of physical changes, and it would be too risky for you to even lie on your stomach for as little as 10 seconds.

Is your lack of sleep going to harm your baby?

Well, don’t worry. The answer is no. This sleeplessness that you might be experiencing now is very common in the later stages of your pregnancy and it won’t harm your little one.

However, when it comes to you, it can significantly make you feel exhausted and cranky since that’s what sleep deprivation does after all! Other than this, studies have also found that prolonged sleeplessness in the later stages of pregnancy can actually increase your chances of a longer labour and the possibility of a C-section. 

One good thing is, it is not about the time of the nap but the duration of it that matters. So, you can compensate for the lack of sleep at night, by grabbing those hours at daytime and take as many naps as possible after you are done with your daytime chores. In case you are a working lady, you can think about starting with your maternity leave a little earlier than what you had previously planned, or opt to work for shorter days if that’s possible. This would allow you to catch some daytime rest.

Important sleeping tips during the third trimester:

1. The symptoms we discussed above are temporary and with a strong mind and some willpower, you can actually manage to get a good night’s sleep and the tips below will certainly help you:

2. Pillows and cushions are your best buddies on the bed now as they will help you get into a comfortable position during sleep. If you can, do try to get a curved pregnancy pillow, which is specifically designed to get you a relaxed sleeping position. You can find this in most of the maternity stores.

3. Sleep on your left side, place a pillow between your legs, below your abdomen, and also behind your back, to get some extra support.

4. Avoid tight clothing of all sorts when you slip into your bed to sleep. Wear some loose and comfortable nightwear, mainly of cotton fabric.

5. Sometimes, lying on the bed might seem more uncomfortable to you. So, in case you find yourself more comfortable lying on your couch, go ahead and doze off there. But make sure, you are well guarded and don’t have the risk of falling down.

6. Avoid eating spicy food, especially for dinner, as they are one of the main culprits that cause heartburns and it only aggravates at night. Opt for light meals for dinner.

7. Opt for some very, very low-impact exercise, as this will improve the circulation of oxygen in your body and help you sleep better at night.

8. Relax completely before getting into bed. Try to meditate for at least 15 minutes before hitting the bed, so that your mind is free from all sorts of distraction. Keep yourself as positive as you can.

We hope these quick tips help you sleep well at night. If not, we suggest you have a talk with your doctor, who can give you some alternatives to get rid of your sleep deprivation.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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