Is It Safe to Sleep on the Floor During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women have been sleeping on the floor for hundreds of years. The availability of beds during olden times was minimal. However, doctors now advise pregnant women to avoid sleeping on the floor. Why is that? This is because the spine is curved in nature and is more susceptible to pains during pregnancy as it is under a lot of pressure to accommodate the baby’s weight and also your weight gain. Nevertheless, as long as you are comfortable, sleeping on the floor when you are pregnant is quite right. Learn more about the pros and cons of sleeping on the floor during pregnancy and important pieces of advice you can pass on if someone you know is sleeping on the floor while pregnant.
Are There Any Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor While Pregnant?
Back pain due to a growing baby bump is one of the most omnipresent pains during pregnancy (1). Sometimes, cushioned beds are not able to provide the comfort that a firm surface can. Therefore, it is possible to find a hard surface like a floor providing more comfort against back pain during pregnancy than a well-cushioned bed.
Reasons to Avoid Sleeping on the Floor When Pregnant
While it is safe to sleep comfortably on the floor during your pregnancy, there are a few reasons why doctors advise you to avoid sleeping on the floor. Here are some known disadvantages of sleeping on the floor during pregnancy:
- The spine is curved and very sensitive when pregnant. Sleeping on a flat floor might cause you more pain.
- The ligaments are under stress during pregnancy, and in an advanced stage, where your uterus is expanded and the baby starts kicking, they might fall onto the lower side because of gravitational pull. This would cause discomfort and may result in an injury.
- Getting down to the floor and then getting up will become uncomfortable with a growing belly. To get up, you might have to squat, which, in rare cases, can trigger premature labour or cause premature birth.
How Can Pregnant Women Sleep Comfortably on the Floor?
It is important to get the basics of how to prepare your sleeping space to have a good rest. When planning to sleep on the floor during pregnancy, it is advised to consult your doctor beforehand to mitigate any risks or complications and whether it is safe for you particularly to sleep on the floor because every pregnancy is different. If you
1. Clear a clutter-free spot on the floor.
2. Place a blanket, mat, or sleeping bag, layering if needed.
3. Use a thin pillow, avoiding stacking to prevent neck strain.
4. Experiment with lying on your back, side, and stomach to find the most comfortable position.
5. If on your back or stomach, consider using a second pillow under your knees for support. Place a pillow under your lower back if lying on your back or between your knees if on your side.
6. Start with short naps or set alarms for 2-3 hours when sleeping on the floor initially.
7. Gradually increase the duration of sleeping on the floor as you become more accustomed to it.
Avoid lying on the back, especially in late pregnancy, as the growing uterus weight could put extreme pressure on major blood vessels that could reduce the blood flow to the uterus, restricting the baby’s air supply. This can increase the chances of stillbirth (2) (3). However, one thing is for sure claimed by researchers in a 2019 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology that the sleeping position of a pregnant woman during early and mid-pregnancy does not appear to affect the risk of pregnancy complications (4) (5). No need to fret if you wake up on your back. The study focused on the position women initially fell asleep in, as it’s the one they tend to stay in the longest. If you find yourself on your back upon waking, simply roll over onto your side and go back to sleep (6).
Pillows are your best friend during pregnancy. They will help you to hold your shape and make you feel comfortable with a growing belly. Try cushioning the floor with soft blankets or even pillows and then sleep on them. There are a lot of pillows and cushions available in the market specially designed for pregnant women. Buy anyone that suits your needs.
1. How soon after childbirth can one resume sleeping on the floor?
After childbirth, it’s essential to prioritize comfort and support for the body as it heals. Generally, it’s advisable to avoid sleeping on the floor immediately after childbirth, as the body needs time to recover from the physical strain of labor and delivery. Therefore, it is best to consult with a doctor for personalised advice based on the type of delivery and any specific postpartum concerns. As recovery progresses and the body feels stronger, gradually transitioning back to sleeping on the floor can be considered, but it’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed to ensure comfort and support during the healing process.
2. Should I be concerned about temperature when sleeping on the floor during pregnancy?
Yes, you should be cautious about temperature when sleeping on the floor during pregnancy. The floor can be colder than a raised surface, which may lead to discomfort or even chilliness, especially during colder seasons or in cooler climates. It’s important to maintain a comfortable and stable temperature to ensure restful sleep and to avoid any potential risks to your health and the health of your baby. You can use extra blankets or sleeping pads to provide insulation and warmth. Additionally, consulting with your doctor for personalised advice is highly recommended during pregnancy.
A good night’s sleep may often elude you when you are pregnant because you just cannot get comfy. Therefore, if you feel comfortable sleeping on the floor, it is safe to try.
1. Sabino. J, Grauer. J. N; Pregnancy and low back pain; Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19468887/; June 2008
2. Sleep during pregnancy; Pregnancy, Birth and Baby; https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/sleep-during-pregnancy
3. Pregnancy and Posture; Stanford Medicine; https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=pregnancy-and-posture-134-8#:~:text=It’s%20best%20to%20avoid%20lying,bent%20slightly%2C%20and%20avoid%20twisting.
4. Science Update: Sleeping position during early and mid pregnancy does not affect risk of complications, NIH-funded study suggests; NIH; https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/news/092019-pregnancy-sleep-position
5. Silver. R. M, Hunter. S, Reddy. U. M, et al.; Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-to-Be (NuMoM2b) Study. Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes; Obstet Gynecol.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31503146/; October 2019
6. How to sleep better in pregnancy: 10 tips; NCT; https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/how-you-might-be-feeling/how-sleep-better-pregnancy-10-tips