Dr. Linda Cares: Should Pregnant Women Sleep on Their Left Side?

A little knowledge is dangerous; especially when it relates to medicine. A recent article in the British newspaper, Daily Mirror discussed a medical study that attempted to prove there was a link between pregnant women’s sleeping positions and stillbirth. The author is of the opinion that the study was small and biased and therefore “there is a serious need for more research before we’re in a strong position to make ¬any recommendations.” Obviously this author has limited knowledge about the cardiovascular system of a pregnant woman.

Our organs and tissues require oxygen to function. Without it, they essentially die. Blood from the lower part of our body flows back to the heart where it receives oxygen, compliments of a large blood vessel called the Inferior Vena Cava (IVC). The inferior vena cava is a large, thin-walled blood vessel located near the spine. As the pregnant uterus becomes enlarged, it can press against the IVC and reduce the amount of its blood flow. Why is that not good? Because it reduces the circulating blood flow in the body that is commonly known as our cardiac output (CO). When the pregnant uterus squeezes the IVC and reduces cardiac output, a woman might feel dizzy and even faint. Her blood supply of oxygen is reduced and the unborn baby’s is as well. When a pregnant woman in her early or late third trimester feels faint after lying flat on her back, the syndrome is called Supine Hypotensive Disorder. Her blood pressure has dropped because her cardiac output has dropped. The heart can only pump out what comes into it, so less blood into the heart means less blood going out of the heart and the patient feels faint. How is this avoided? By encouraging pregnant women in their third trimester to sleep on their left side.

What happens when a pregnant woman sleeps on her left side? The uterus is no longer compressing the thin-walled IVC but lies against the thick-walled aorta instead. The aorta brings oxygenated blood away from the heart and to essential organs and tissues. Because of its thickness it’s not affected by the weight of the pregnant uterus. What if you can’t sleep on your left side? Then sleep on your right side but avoid sleeping flat on your back.

Although medical studies have allegedly not proven that sleeping on the left side reduces stillbirths, it is still sound advice to avoid maternal and fetal complications. Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen — it takes a smart mother who knows what to do.

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73 thoughts on “Dr. Linda Cares: Should Pregnant Women Sleep on Their Left Side?

  1. Pingback: Pregnant Women: How Sleeping Position Might Affect Baby’s Health « health care commentaries from around the world

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  3. This is an absolutely ridiculous idea. A woman should lie in whatever position she is most comfortable in. The concept that “all pregnant women should only lie on their left sides because some get dizzy if they don’t” implies that women are too dumb to adjust their position if they feel faint. This is terribly insulting. When I was nine months pregnant, sometimes the only comfortable position I could find was on my back. Sometimes it felt bad, so I didn’t lay that way. Give us some credit! Of all the things we have to worry about we don’t need to (literally) lose sleep over this one!

    • It is always the mother who makes the ultimate decision regarding her care. However physiology is physiology, whether you agree with the facts or not. Women are by no means “dumb.” I happen to be a woman myself and also a mother as well as an obstetrician. When an enlarged uterus is compressing the Inferior Vena Cava, the oxygenation to the fetus WILL be compromised whether the mother feels “faint” or not. This phenomena is translated into late decelerations on a fetal monitor strip and unless you have one in your home; you will never know that your baby is compromised until the moment of truth when you enter a labor room and it is discovered that the baby is experiencing fetal distress. I have to respectfully disagree with your comments but certainly thank you for taking the time to make them.

  4. I’ve been researching the subject of sleeping on the left while pregnant, because I am subjected to this issue on a daily basis via forums I read which are literally full of pregnant women bemoaning the fact that they can’t sleep because they are trying to force themselves into sleeping on their left – in the mistaken belief that not doing so will somehow harm their unborn babies.
    I can find absolutely no viable scientific study or evidence which shows a strong benefit to sleeping on the left, particularly in early pregnancy. I have only been able to find one study conducted on a small number of women (and not conducted in a credible scientific manner) which implies a POSSIBLE link between sleeping position on the night before giving birth, and still birth. However, it concludes that further research is needed before any link can be proven, and more to the point, before women are advised to sleep on their left (and this would surely only affect sleeping position in later pregnancy).
    Irresponsible reporting on the part of the media, and articles like this one, are responsible for a new generation of pregnant women mistakenly believing that they must cause themselves to suffer for the full nine months of their pregnancy, by forcing themselves to lie on their left. For many women, the lack of sleep caused by this misinterpretation or the worry and guilt caused by not doing so, is surely far more damaging than sleeping in whatever position is comfortable during pregnancy!
    This partial information has resulted in an unofficial internet campaign on pregnancy websites and baby related forums, which has caused this inconclusive evidence to be interpreted as a ‘guideline,’ that many women take far too seriously. It is unfair and irresponsible to allow information like this to be widely distributed and misinterpreted, and articles like this one appear to give credibility to a theory which is, as yet, unfounded.
    If Dr Linda cares, then Dr Linda needs to be aware of the widespread effect that reporting something so inconclusive to a vulnerable audience can have, and this psuedo information has done far more harm than good.
    (For evidence of the damage the irresponsible reporting of this study has done, check any pregnancy forum anywhere in the world. I guarantee there will be a current thread running about struggling to sleep on the left).

    • Rosanne, I think you are missing the point. Whether it’s the left or the right side, a pregnant woman in her THIRD TRIMESTER should not lie in a recumbent position (flat on her back) because the gravid uterus could impede the blood flow from the Inferior Vena Cava back to the heart, depleting oxygen to the baby that could POTENTIALLY cause variable decelerations that ultimately compromises oxygenation to the fetus which it needs in order to breathe. Ultimately, it’s the mother’s choice.

      • Linda, I think YOU are missing the point… If it is unimportant whether a pregnant woman should sleep on her left or her right as long as she refrains from lying on her back, then why are you endorsing the advice that women should sleep specifically on their left?
        I am not sure medical professionals realise that pregnant women do take any advice they are given very seriously in their desire to do their best for their unborn child – in some cases, it is taken too seriously, and those in a position to hand out advice need to be responsible with information given out.
        Many women are misinterpreting guidance like this to mean that they can’t turn over throughout the night, and are consequently subjecting themselves to sleepless nights of lying on their left without altering position.
        To your credit, your blog article mentions that this is really only relevant in the latter stages of pregnancy, and does state that it is OK to sleep on the right, but many online sources fail to mention this. There are women who are forcing themselves into left-sided sleeping positions throughout the duration of their pregnancy, at the expense of a good night’s sleep. There are also women who are unable to do this, and consequently feel guilty, or worry that they are harming their baby in some way.
        I wish I was exaggerating, but the subject of left-sided sleeping has become a widespread, unofficial internet campaign on websites and online communities based around babies and pregnancy, and I truly believe that there is insufficient evidence at this stage to advise women that they should be sleeping on the left.
        You yourself state, “medical studies have allegedly not proven that sleeping on the left side reduces stillbirths.” As far as I am concerned, something is either proven, or it is not. Something that is ‘allegedly not proven’ has to be classed as unproven, and I believe that it is unwise of those in a position of authority (such as yourself in the medical profession) to advocate any theory based on insufficient evidence, particularly when doing so comes at the cost of many women’s sleep.
        I would personally say that if a pregnant woman is able to sleep on her left without causing herself to suffer, then great, go ahead and do so, safe in the knowledge that you MIGHT benefit your baby.
        But advocating left-sided sleeping based on a study which is not scientifically sound merely adds to the apparent credibility of an internet rumour that has already become too widespread for its own good, and is widely misinterpreted.
        I have no problem with the theory behind the benefits of left-sided sleeping. Nor do I have a problem with advising women against sleeping on their back in the latter stages of pregnancy (although I do credit women with enough sense to work that out for themselves). But I do think that advice needs to be carefully worded and backed up with evidence, in order to prevent it from doing more harm than good, and from gaining a life of its own through misinterpretation. Sadly, I have seen a lot of that already.
        Although you are absolutely correct, ultimately, it is the mother’s choice.

      • “To your credit, your blog article mentions that this is really only relevant in the latter stages of pregnancy, and does state that it is OK to sleep on the right, but many online sources fail to mention this.”

        It is hilarious to read such an illogical comment. Why rake this particular blogger over the coals for something other online sources do or don’t do. I found this to be an excellent resource of information because, as this commenter herself states, this blog post states that it “is really only relevant in the latter stages of pregnancy, and…it is OK to sleep on the right.” Done. Information desseminated.
        No need to create an argument here, when the debate is clearly to be had elsewhere.

  5. Wow! I think the hormones in Melissa and Rosanne are really working on them. Or, working them up. I was just looking up sleeping positions for women and came across this. Dr. Galloway is just stating the facts. That’s her job. She can’t help it if you two don’t agree or have a problem with it. I’m 23 weeks pregnant and thrilled! no matter how I have to sleep to have this baby and make sure that he is healthy. If I’m told that the best (factual) way is to sleep on my left side, then by all means, I’m going to sleep on my left side. No harm done to my emotional state. If you don’t like your left side and think that facts are pointless, then take your own advice and listen to your body and sleep the way you want. I think it’s insane to go off the way you two did just because a doctor was putting out some helpful information to women looking for it. She’s the doctor, I’m sure she knows what is going on inside a woman’s body more than the two of you do. Yes, we as women know our bodies better than anyone else does, but that is not the subject at hand here. The point is the facts and unless you’ve gone to medical school, those are the facts. Take it or don’t, but no need to get all snippy over it.

    • Good on yOu jess I strongly agree I believe
      Dr Linda knows what’s best and has
      Medically learnt this informstion and is only
      Trying to help women out there she cares people can take advise or leave it I’m 28 weeks and I sleep on my left, sometimes find my self awake on right but I never sleep on my back because of what my dr has told me I also find it harder to breathe if I lye on my back so I strongly agree it has a lot to do with the oxygen blood flow and organs and if it’s something every woman can try to lOwer the risk then y not give it a go.. Thanks for your vital info dr Linda I take your Adivise to lower the chances just one question when do unborn babies sleep inside the womb? Is it when the mother is asleep do they sleep approx 17 a day??

      • Hi Carmen,
        Babies do sleep but not necessarily when the mom is sleep. They usually sleep for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. It’s important to feel the baby move at least once an hour, especially when you reach the 3rd trimester. Thanks for your sweet comments. Appreciate them.

  6. Dear Dr. Galloway,

    I would like to introduce the additional element, which is that left side sleeping and resting is also associated with reduced risk of pregnancy induced hypertension or preeclampsia. (see below).

    I think you are very right to state that there is enough evidence to advise pregnant women to sleep on their left side.

    Although scientific evidence could always be stronger, the likely positive effects on the mother and baby’s health clearly overweight the possible negative effect on the sleep.

    Greetings
    Tanja

    Spinapolice RX, Feld S, Harrigan JT. Effective prevention of gestational hypertension in nulliparous women at high risk as identified by the rollover test. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1983

  7. I’m a doctor, i do agree with facts that DR.Linda has stated. I’m 25 weeks pregnant now and will do all possible things to see that my baby is healthy.

  8. I have read repeatedly the benefits of sleeping on the left side, and I ‘ve tried as much as i can to do it. but, sometimes I woke up to find myself on my right. So, I want to ask, is it terribly wrong to do so?

    • I wouldn’t be too concerned about lying on your right side. Left is preferred but as long as you’re not lying flat on your back and potentially depleted oxygen from the baby, you should be okay. Thanks for your question.

  9. I have a large fibroid on my uterus, and I haven’t been able to lie flat on my back since week 8!! (My heart starts pounding and I have a hard time breathing, I also feel very strange sensations in my lower abdomen that just don’t feel good.). And yes, I used to be a stomach and back sleeper. It stinks to have to sleep on my side – I kind of dread night because I know I’ll be so uncomfortable, but in my case my body has made it very clear that it just has to be.

  10. This is for all those who question side-lying sleeping and lying on the left. I am not a doctor, but I am a First-Responder and also a massage therapist specializing in pre-natal massage. In all the reading I have done about this issue, all the medical personnel say that sleeping on the left side is more beneficial to baby. If that was not so, don’t you think there would be more controversy and dissension among medical professionals? But they are all saying pretty much the same thing. So I tend to believe something that the majority of learned professionals tell me. I do side-lying massage for my pregnant clients, finishing up (and spending more time) with the client on her left side.

  11. “Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen — it takes a smart mother who knows what to do.”
    So what you’re saying is that women with complicated pregnancies (abnormalies, failures, disabilities, etc) are responsible for what happens/happened?
    Another false claim apart from what is listed in the comments below!
    Sometimes a pregnancy isn’t meant to be. And it’s no way the mother’s fault for that.

    • No. What I’m saying is that many complications have warning signs that are either ignored or missed by healthcare professionals and by the time these complications are recognized, it becomes a disaster. Prevention is the key to a healthy birth outcome or recognition and proper treatment of the condition before it spins out of control. If a mother is aware of the signs and symptoms of possible complications, she can INSIST and I emphasize that word that something be done. So yes, it does take a smart mother who knows what to do in order to protect her pregnancy and unborn child. 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and those “unplanned” babies turn out to be brilliant human beings if given the proper environment.

  12. I have been trying to sleep on my left side but have become increasingly uncomfortable in what I can only assume is my heart which Im sure I can feel beating and feels really weird. I am now sleeping on my left but am concerned at why this is happening when we are advised to do this does this mean there is something wrong?

    • I have a few questions. How many weeks are you? Have you discussed this issue with your doctor or midwife? My first suggestion (not advice because legally, I don’t provide advice) would be to honor your body. If lying on your left side makes you uncomfortable then by all means turn on the right side. The point is to avoid lying flat on your back if at all possible. Thanks for your comment. Good luck in the pregnancy and hope you will “like” me on Facebook.

      • I am 27 weeks pregnant. I asked my midwife who simply didn’t know what to say. I asked my former consultant who ignored my question and was evasive and very arrogant as if I shouldn’t waste his time with silly questions. Quite upsetting really as it has been causing me pain for a while now. I try to sleep on my right but do move to my left in my sleep and when this happens it causes pain the next day. It feels very uncomfortable like a burny/bruise under my left breast and round the rib cage towards my back. I have since changed hospitals as he is not someone that I want to be involved with my care, and will ask a consultant at my new hospital if I get to see one. I will continue to sleep on my left but would like to know what is happening with this situation incase it is something with further implications.

      • I think the main point is to stay off your back. As long as you stay off your back, your baby will receiving the oxygen it needs because the Inferior Vena Cava is not compressed. Good for you for changing consultants if they are disrespectful. You’re pregnancy is very precious. You deserve better.

        Thanks for your response. I’m sure our readers will benefit from your comments.

  13. I like the “honor your body”. I have found in life that there is “no true one way”. We should be aware of what our bodies are telling us, and do what keeps us feeling healthy. If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it! :)

  14. Since I naturally like to sleep on my left side already (not pregnant yet, but trying!) I hope if/when I do get pregnant that it will still feel as natural!

    Just curious about a hypothetical/unusual scenario: I’ve heard about a few rare people whose organs are a mirror image reverse (ie. their appendix is on the left side instead of the usual right, stomach is on the right instead of the left, etc.) So in that case you would be advised to sleep on your right side instead of the left, correct? How would know if you were one of these people, since I’d imagine X-rays would reveal this but pregnant women shouldn’t be X-rayed?

    • Hi, Joanne. Thanks for taking the time comment. What you’re referring to is called a Transposition of the Great Organs and someone would be diagnosed with this condition almost at birth based on their breathing tests. However, it’s a very interesting question. Thanks for sharing.

      • My name is Ayana I’m 20 weeks the baby stays on the left side and that’s probably because I sleep on my right but I try to some nights I sleep on my left to try to move the baby to the right but it feels like it stays on my left or on my bladder y is that

  15. am nine weeks pregnant with persistent nausea and vomiting. i throw up what ever i eat. i also find it very difficult to sleep on my left side. what should i do

    • Hi Eunice,
      Sorry to hear about your nausea but understand that it does go away with time. Have you spoken to your doctor or midwife about this? Understand that 9 weeks is a critical time because the baby’s brain is developing as well as it’s nervous system. Also, understand that legally, I’m not giving you medical advice, only information. Having said that, next week when you’re 10 weeks, ask you healthcare provider to give you something. In my book, I outline a section that you can read about nausea and vomiting. You can purchase an ebook at http://www.smartmothersguide.com at a very reasonable price. Crackers, ginger tea and small meals are a start. Hope this helps.

      • Crackers dont always help some of us puke the whole pregnancy and lose alot of weight. I have tried meds and been in and out of hospital and know of girls who have pumps cause the puking is so bad

  16. We are now 16 weeks pregnant and we have really appreciated on the information you have given us, now my wife and our baby will be safe. Thans so much Linda

  17. Very good article. I am 23 weeks pregnant and I do take heed to the advice of medical professionals. Of course, I use my own discretion and know how to “honor my body” enough to see how it is responding. However, in regards to not sleeping on your back- this is very uncomfortable for me and hard not do but I make a conscious decision every night to do what is best for the baby and my body. Research is rarely conclusive. So rather or not it has been well established, we need to ask ourselves is it reasonable enough. Dr. Linda–its reasonable enough for me. Thanks

  18. hello dr. i m devender from india . last 26 july 2012 my sister got a baby. his health very good but he can’t taking oxizon than sleeping he’s on valtilator. i want ur addvise wats happend with him.please call me 09811095481 plzzzzzzzzzzzz, plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz thanku

    • Hi Damola,
      No, frequent switching from one side to another should not cause stillbirths. The most common reasons for stillbirths occur if there is a cord around the baby’s neck, infection or bleeding. Hope this helps.

      • I am 37 weeks and I woke up on my back. I might have been like that for couple of hours. I turned to ny left side right away and felt the blood rushing through. I do feel the baby moving around. Should I be worried? How do I know if my baby is instress?

  19. Hello! Thanks for the article. I’m 34 weeks and understand while the left side is preferred, the right side is still OK. I try to listen to my body for the most part, but late pregnancy is proving to be difficult to decipher what my body needs.

    My question is I’m finding that even in the reclined position (45 degrees or so) I feel out of breath. Then again, there aren’t many positions that don’t leave me winded anymore. The reason I’m trying the reclined position is because of my PSD and acid reflux. But, as I stated before, is now leaving me winded. Is this reclined position the same as laying flat on my back when considering the Vena Cava? Or is it strictly an issue if I am laying FLAT on my back? Thanks in advance!

  20. Hi peoples, my wife is at her 25 week andshe started to sleep on her left side but always wakes on her back after 2 weeks of sleeping on her left, and even with pillows behind her, so is there another way of control, i brought her a snoogle pillow to try and help but does not work! Any other ideas?

    • Hi Brad,
      Thanks for the great question and I admire your concern for your wife. At 25 weeks, she will not feel the affect of sleeping on her back to a great extent but as the pregnancy progress and the baby grows, she will experience shortness of breath when she lies flat on her back so I wouldn’t worry too much. From 36 weeks on if you see her lying on her back, give her a gentle reminder to turn to her side.

      Hope this helps.

    • Hi Brad,
      Thanks for the great question and I admire your concern for your wife. At 25 weeks, she will not feel the affect of sleeping on her back to a great extent but as the pregnancy progress and the baby grows, she will experience shortness of breath when she lies flat on her back so I wouldn’t worry too much. From 36 weeks on if you see her lying on her back, give her a gentle reminder to turn to her side.

      Hope this helps.

  21. Please help, I’m 24 weeks pregnant and understand all the implications of sleeping on my back, however, in the last week my hips have been aching chronically and I can’t lay on either side for more than a few minutes. I’m avoiding laying on my back by trying to sleep at about a 30-40 degree angle. Is this safe to do or will the baby still be pressing on the artery? I have had about 6 hours sleep in the past two nights so am desperate to find a comfortable position but don’t want to jeopardise the baby. Thanks

  22. Thankyou for this sensible article, your simple way of explaining things and your courage and consistency in replying to people.
    I am 8 wks pregnant with my second, God willing, but remember all this with my first, who just had her 3rd birthday a week ago.
    I like that you are applying medical training to the known facts of known physiology. Not actually proclaiming or denying the little research that was done. More research will follow, but that doesn’t mean those of us carrying babies in the meantime can use our logic to take cautionary action.
    I taught myself to sleep on the left, and now can’t get comfortable on the right regardless! Much of my 3rd trimester was awkward for sleeping, but my attitude was that I would persevere for the sake of our baby. Had I been unable to, not feeling guilty or taking articles like this defensively was important. I could feel guilty about the wine spritzers, and my occasionally answered brie and pate cravings, but I haven’t been ticking off authors of posts on such topics.
    My best friend went for her 8wk dating scan and discovered she was nearly 21wks! Still breastfeeding the last was to blame, but she has been doing most of the things you shouldn’t – spas, no folic acid, wine and sushi. Thankfully all is well, which doesn’t mean the guidelines are wrong, but feeling guilty is!
    I actually saw first hand the left right side thing. When I went into hospital to have our daughter, they were getting concerned because the readings weren’t very strong – she wasn’t moving much. I forget the machines name, they strap things to your belly to get electrical readings and it draws a graph of movement like the earthquake sonographs. ECG?
    The student midwife went for help, and straight away the new midwife spotted the problem. I was propped up on pillows, turned ever so slightly to my side, just my hups turned so my bum went left – the door was on my right. She got me to twist my bum under and to the right, so I was just lying on my left.
    The readings went nuts within about 3 seconds and stayed active the next 4 hrs till she arrived. I felt no real difference, all down to the monitor.
    I’m a believer!

  23. Great article, attended to my concern appropriately. I am into the 19th week of pregnancy with my 4th bundle of joy. Unlike my previous pregnancies, I want to be wiser in every health decision I make for me and my unborn child. However, the suggestion of sleeping on my left concerns me greatly because this time around I cannot sleep comfortably on my left, when I try, my heart races terribly until I change and sleep on my right side which is heavenly comfortable at the moment. Thank you doctor for this insightful article!

  24. I too have been concerned with sleeping on my back. I have been a back sleeper my whole life. And at 29 weeks pregnant, i found myself still sleeping on my back and often switching to the left side, but then going back to my back as my most comfortable position. I wish my OB or a doctor would have told me that sleeping on your back was a NO NO. I only recently heard this from friends. I have never felt an issue with numbness or dizziness (only feel dizzy if I am sitting up straight).

    Anyways, I do wonder why sleeping on your right side is deemed also OK. To me, i feel most uncomfortable on this side, and feel the most pressure on my back while laying on my right. With laying on my back flat, isnt the pressure evenly distributed as opposed to being on your right side, where all the pressure would be hitting the Vena Cava artery from that one side??? I’m not sure if I completely agree with it being safe to sleep on your right side. The study from the UK regarding sleeping positions said to avoid BOTH back and right side sleep. This to me makes sense based on my own experience. I actually feel more pressure on my back sleeping on my right because of all the weight concentrated to one side, i.e. the right, which is where the vein is located.

    Is there any safe way for me to sleep on my back during pregnancy at this stage. I toss and turn to the left, but I always somehow end on my back. I suffer from a history of back and neck injury and this is why I am a comfortable back sleeper. I should add, that my mattress is firm but has a very plush top. I barely feel pressure on my back muscles. I try to always sleep on my side, but I can’t seem to stay comfortable in that position for very long. I will happily suck up the discomfort for the safety of my child, but could sleepless nights, and back pain/shoulder pain/discomfort from being forced to sleep on your left (if deemed uncomfortable) more dangerous to your circulation. I just want to see the whole picture here. A lot of people sleep on their left at the expense of pain, and a good nights sleep. Can this cause harm to the baby?

    Sorry for my long rant.

  25. Hi Dr Linda, I am very interested in the issue of sleeping position. I have had 3 shoulder surgeries and find sleeping on my side very uncomfortable and painful. Prior to my surgeries I was always a side sleeper. Quite simply I dont sleep unless I’m on my back, and even then I dont sleep well due to pain. I’m only the early part of my second trimester but have been attempting to build up my tolerance to sleeping on my side but I’m having a lot of difficulty with is. My left side is my worst, unfortubnately. Í have all types of pillows to prop me up but side sleeping is going to be very difficult for me in the later stages. After my surgeries I slept on a wedge pillow that gave me an incline from the base of my spine. I can get some sleep in this position, can you advise whether such an incline position is safer than flat on the back, or does it carry the same risk? I dont know what to do about this. I was also wondering about sleeping in a recliner chair, again does this carry the same risk of pressue on the artery? Thanks in advance!

  26. I agree with you linda 100%. I have been through four pregnancy and my last one is on the way. Sleeping on your left does benefit the baby. Just as it would a man or women not pregnant. Even patients with high blood pressure are recommended to lay on their left side because it lowers your blood pressure. Plus when you get that needle in your back for pain during labor 9 times out of 10 they have you lay on your left.

    • At 15 weeks, it doesn’t really matter so don’t stress yourself. After 20 weeks when your abdomen gets larger, you should avoid sleeping flat on your back. Thanks for your question.

  27. hi doc I’ve been searching for this sort of platform for a while and I’m glad I found it . I’m 6 months pregnant as a result of rape. I have a 4 year old son already and that pregnancy was relatively fine compared to this one . I have hot flashes, nose bleeds , vaginal bleeding (sometimes) , fainting spells , I vomit a lot and at times its blood streaked ,im Rh negative, not to mention that I have a very bad case of pre-natal depression . Yes a big , very big nightmare . When I consulted a doctor about all of the things I’m going through , he says its most likely because of the hostile way in which the child was conceived. I was also told that in order for my blood to be Rh negative I must of either done an abortion , had a miscarriage , had an operation etc but to be honest I went through none of those things . Is there another explanation for the Rh- factor. As for all these things am dealing with , are they really all normal as I’m told because most of the time , I don’t even want to get out of bed, I’m so miserable . This has completely shattered my life . Please doc any words of wisdom will be much appreciated to help me deal with this . Keep up the good work

    • Hi Lee.
      I’m a little confused. Are you saying that you’re RhNeg and your blood is showing Rh+ antibodies? If so, this definitely needs to be addressed by your physician and may require additional tests.

  28. Hi Dr. Linda,

    I am 20 weeks pregnant and was told by my midwife to sleep however I like until the third trimester. And then I should avoid sleeping on my back. Do you agree with this? I’m a restless sleeper and sleep on my left, right, and back throughout the night. I try really hard to sleep on my left (even after the advice from my midwife) but always wake up with either my legs or my hands asleep. This doesn’t happen to me when sleeping on my back or right side. I also feel quite a sharp pain in my lower uterus whenever I switch positions. Is this normal? Should I keep trying my best to sleep on left side throughout the rest of pregnancy, or should I only worry about this issue when I reach my third trimester?

    • Hi Shannon,
      Thanks for your question. I agree with your midwife’s advice however remember, nothing is written in stone and we should listen to the wisdom of our bodies. The left side is preferred but if you’re more comfortable sleeping on your right side, that’s fine. The point is to avoid sleeping flat on your back which would “squish” the blood vessel that returns blood to the heart. At 20 weeks, I wouldn’t worry. After 28 to 30 wks, you’ll probably want to start following your midwife’s advice. Best of luck with the pregnancy and let me know how things turn out.

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