Rest Smart suggestions

The hammock positionWendy Left side

Think of your belly as a hammock and let the baby lie with his or her back settling into the hammock.

While in bed or on the couch, always use a pillow between your knees and ankles (see above). This prevents your leg from hanging and pulling gently on the hips, creating torsion (a twist) in the pelvic floor and hip joints. Supported ankles may also help prevent a loss of balance in the pelvis, but aren’t enough to restore balance.

Make a little pillow nest to lay nearly on your tummy. Pillows keep your weight off the baby. Use your breastfeeding pillow, curve your body pillow, or partially inflate a swim doughnut to dip your belly into the “nest.” Trust me, it’s very comfortable.

Sometimes you may want to lie on either side, where one hip is directly over the other, like a right angle. In this situation, don’t lean back (at least not for long). Leaning back without proper support can give you a muscle cramp. Change sides frequently for comfort and to help the uterus be a little more symmetrical.

Which side should I sleep on?

Going to sleep and/or waking up on your left side seems to protect against unexpected stillbirths, as discovered in a New Zealand study. You obviously have little control over which side you wake up on, but you can learn to go to sleep on your left side!

If your care provider asks you to avoid a particular position, be sure to ask them why. It may be that monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat or your blood pressure shows that a particular position is not good for you at that time. This is always great information to have.

Changing positions may be good for the baby in general. Getting up to go to the bathroom one or more times a night seems to be protective of the baby’s wellbeing as well, as noticed by the same New Zealand researchers.

What most studies agree on is the many disadvantages of sleeping on one’s back. The weight of the womb in mid to late pregnancy can reduce blood flow that is now known to adversely affect the baby’s health.

Try the flashlight test

If this little light you’re bringing into the world could be seen shining through the thin skin of your navel area, that beam of light should aim down or straight while you’re resting. Don’t direct your beam of light upwards if possible. Lying on your back for a short exercise or exam is an obvious exception to this.

Sit Smart suggestions

Jean Sutton, co-author of Understanding and Teaching Optimal Fetal Positioning recommends we sit with our knees and belly lower than the level of our hips. Keep an upright back by sitting on the front of your sitz bones, not back on your sacrum.

Many women may need more than simply keeping good posture in pregnancy.

1Sit dynamically

Want more comfort in pregnancy?

Check out our complete list of Comfort Tips.