Rest Smart suggestions

Rest SmartSM simply means maternal positioning with gravity. Alignment promotes muscle relaxation and an open pelvis.


Wendy Left side

The hammock position

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 your ankles (see above). This level support prevents your foot from hanging over the edge of the pillow and pulling, even slightly, on the hips. Asymmetry creates torsion (a twist) in the pelvic floor and hip joints.

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.

Crave a moment lying belly down? Make a little pillow nest to lay nearly on your tummy. Pillows prop you up and 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.

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.

Rest Smart suggestions

Sit up on the sitz bones.

When our knees are lower than the level of our hips and our back is upright, the great muscle pair which sweeps past the uterus from the spine to the top of the thigh bone can lengthen. A longer set of psoas (so-as) muscles allows for more ease in digestion, emotion, and birthing.  Sit on the front of your sitz bones, not back on your sacrum, to give your insides more room and less compression.

Many pregnant people need more support for their muscles and connective tissue than is available simply from keeping good posture in pregnancy. A lot of sitting or doing a single exercise can cause imbalances that may not show up until labor when baby goes lower. Give yourself a full advantage by doing body balancing techniques in our techniques section. Wonder where to start? Go to The Three Principles in Pregnancy.

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Want more comfort in pregnancy?

  1. Restore body balance
  2. Increase range of motion
  3. Rest SmartSM

Check out our complete list of Comfort Tips.


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