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How to Lie Down in Bed During Pregnancy

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 Pregnancy brings more than its share of aches, pains, and awkward movements, especially with your growing belly. Finding a comfortable sleeping position when pregnant can be a challenge, especially when some pregnant women already struggle with insomnia.[1] But taking a few steps to prepare before you lie down or go to sleep can make all the difference.

Preparing to Lie Down

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    Gather two to three pillows on the bed, or use a body pillow. When trying to lie down while pregnant, pillows are your best friend. Before you get into bed, pile on the pillows and ask your partner to help you position them for you so you can get comfortable. A long pillow, like a body pillow, is great for positioning against your back when you lie down on your side, or for you to hug when you sleep on your side.[2]
    • You can also use a pillow to prop your head up so you don’t get heartburn while lying down and place a pillow between your knees or under your belly to take pressure off of your back and legs. Many stores also sell a long body pillow designed to also go between your legs to support your hips when you're pregnant.
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    Avoid drinking water right before lying down. Your doctor will likely recommend you drink lots of water during your pregnancy to stay hydrated. But avoid drinking a large glass of water before lying down or before bed, as this may cause you to wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. Stop drinking water one hour before you plan to lie down.[3]
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    Eat several hours before lying down. Many pregnant women suffer from heartburn, which can lead to discomfort and interrupted sleep. Prevent heartburn by skipping spicy meals a few hours before bed or before lying down. You should wait at least two hours after eating to lie down and relax so you don’t develop heartburn.[4]
    • If you start to feel heartburn once you lay down, use a pillow to prop your head up. Elevating your head can help your body to digest what you have eaten.
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    Ensure your mattress does not sag or dip. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, make sure your mattress is firm and your box spring does not sag or dip. Place your bed on the floor if the box spring sags or use a board under your mattress to keep it even and firm.[5]
    • If you are used to sleeping on a softer mattress, you may find switching to a harder mattress uncomfortable. Stick to the softer mattress if it is what you are used to and you have no issues getting a full night’s sleep on the bed.

Choosing a Lying Down Position

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    Get into the lying position slowly and carefully. Sit on the bed, closer to the head of the bed than the foot of the bed. Move your body as far on to the bed as you can. Then, lower yourself down onto one side using your hands as support. Bend your knees slightly and pull them up onto the bed. Think of yourself as a rolling log, rolling on your side or on your back.[6]
    • Have your pillows ready on your bed so you can position them easily once you lie down.
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    Try to lie on your left side. Lying on your left side, or the "left lateral position" will help with your blood circulation and ensures your baby gets a sufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen from the placenta. Doctors also recommend sleeping on your left side to help with insomnia or other sleep issues during pregnancy.[7]
    • Get comfy on your left side by placing a pillow between your legs, a pillow under your belly, and a pillow or a rolled up towel behind your back. You can also hug a full length body pillow for extra comfort.
    • Another option is to sleep on your left side in a three quarter position. Lying on your left side, place your bottom arm behind you and your bottom leg straight out and down. Bend your top leg and rest it on a pillow. Bend your upper arm and place a pillow behind your head.[8]
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    Roll over to your right side if you are uncomfortable. If your left side isn’t comfortable for you or if it feels too awkward, try rolling onto your right side. Complications with lying on your right side are almost nonexistent, so it's fine to choose the right side if it's more comfortable.
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    Lie on your back during the first few weeks of pregnancy only. Sleeping on your back is fine for the first few weeks of pregnancy, when your uterus has not yet expanded and will not exert any kind of pressure on the vena cava, which is the vein that carries blood back to your heart. But by your second trimester, avoid lying on your back as it can lead to nausea and dizziness, and it can also decrease oxygen transmission to the baby.
    • To lie on your back comfortably during your first few weeks of pregnancy, place a pillow under your thighs and let your legs and feet roll open to the side. You can also roll one or both legs back and forth to release any tension in your lower back.[9]
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    Don’t sleep on your stomach after your first trimester. Many pregnant women are comfortable sleeping on their stomach during the first week of their pregnancy, especially if they usually sleep on their stomach. But it can become uncomfortable once your uterus starts expanding and you begin to feel like you are carrying a large beach ball on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach after your first trimester can also endanger your baby’s health so try to lie on your side or to your back for the remainder of your pregnancy.[10]
    • Keep in mind your baby will also experience discomfort while you sleep or lie down and might wake you up with a kick if she is feeling stressed due to your sleep position. If you wake up on your back or your stomach, simply roll over to your left or right side. However, being comfortable during pregnancy is very important. [11]

Getting Out of the Lying Position

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    Roll on your side, if you are not already on your side. Shift your knees so they come towards your belly. Move your knees and your feet to the edge of the bed. Use your arms as support as you push yourself into a sitting position. Swing your legs over the side of the bed.[12]
    • You can also place a pillow between your legs to help you get up.
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    Take a deep breath before you stand up. To avoid any dizziness or nausea when you get up, take a long breath before you raise up off the bed. This will also prevent you from aggravating any back pain you might be feeling.[13]
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    Ask someone for assistance. Enlist the support of your partner or someone close by to help you get out of the lying position. Have the person grip your forearms and gently help you rise up from the bed.[14]
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