Is it okay to sleep on your right side?

Q: Is it okay to sleep on your right side all night? I've heard that it can block the blood flow to my baby. But I can't sleep on my back; I'm a side sleeper and I'm more on my right side than my left. Is this bad?

A: There are so many myths out there regarding the sleep habits of pregnant women. The bottom line is that there is very little to worry about....but let's discuss this. The big recommendation is to avoid sleeping flat on your back for prolonged periods of time after about 20 weeks. The reason behind this is because the major blood vessels in the body (the aorta and the vena cava) run just next to the spine on the right side of the body. After about 20 weeks, the weight of the uterus can compress these vessels and decrease blood flow back to your heart and also to the baby. Historically, practitioners have recommended sleeping with a little tilt to the left, therefore taking pressure off the aorta and vena cava. But, sleeping all the way to the right (on your right side) is fine too. And, as your pregnancy progresses, whichever side you are sleeping on will get sore, so its nice to have the opposite side as an option to flip over to.

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Answered by Dr. Michele Hakakha

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