Can You Sleep in a Recliner While Pregnant?

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Between the heartburn, leg cramps, and midnight bathroom trips, getting a good night’s sleep becomes challenging during pregnancy. Because of this, many ask the question: Can I sleep in a recliner while pregnant? This is understandable though, as the growing baby bump can make sleeping in a mattress uncomfortable.

Can you sleep in a recliner while pregnant? You can sleep in a recliner while pregnant as long as you don't fully recline the chair to prevent laying flat on your back. Sleeping in a recliner on your left side with a pillow between your knees has been reported to be very comfortable during pregnancy.

It’s important to note, however, every woman and every pregnancy has different needs and restrictions. In this post, we will answer the question: Can you sleep in a recliner when pregnant? Here’s everything you need to know about sleeping in a recliner during pregnancy, with solutions for problems and tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Why is Sleep Important During Pregnancy?

Getting in enough sleep helps regulate hormone levels and is paramount to the overall health of the baby.

So, why is sleep important during pregnancy? Sleep is extremely important during pregnancy because it improves both your immune system and brain function altogether. This in turn, helps regulate growth hormone levels which contributes to the overall development of the fetus. Getting good quality sleep should be top priority during pregnancy.

The general rules of eating well and regular exercise apply, however, to get better sleep when you’re pregnant, the best thing you can do is to create a peaceful and comfortable environment to sleep in. This includes entertaining the option of sleeping in a recliner to offset your increasing size while reducing the body aches and cramps.

Can You Sleep in a Recliner While Pregnant?

While you can sleep in a recliner while pregnant, there are important things to consider. It has been well-documented that sleeping on your back during pregnancy may be risky because the weight of your baby can compress a major blood vessel called the Inferior Vena Cava (IVC), which is responsible for returning blood to your heart.

In an interview with Romper, Dr. Eva Martin, CEO of Elm Tree Medical, Inc., says:

"If the IVC can't return blood to your heart, then the heart won't have sufficient blood to pump back out to the body and the baby,"

With that said, sleeping in a recliner may possibly be a safe alternative, as long as you don't lay horizontally on your back. This brings us too..

1. Is it OK to sleep elevated on your back while pregnant?

Answering this question is a tricky one. There’s a fine line between sleeping on your back horizontally (also known as the supine position) and sleeping slightly elevated on your back.

According to the Journal of Physiology, supine sleep in pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, particularly in the growth‐restricted fetus. It’s best to avoid maternal supine position during the day and the supine sleep position, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. Here’s what Certified Nurse Michelle Barcus, MSN, CNM had to say on this matter:

With that said, sleeping elevated on your back while pregnant is okay, under the condition that you are mostly upright in the recliner. Not only does a recliner help with finding comfort during pregnancy, but it has been known to help reduce acid reflux symptoms that can disturb your sleep at night.

PRO TIP: If you decide to sleep in a recliner during pregnancy, be sure to sleep in a well-built recliner made by a reputable manufacturer. To help you make the best buying decision, we’ve made a comprehensive list of the best recliners with excellent back support for your home. Be sure to check it out.

2. Is sleeping sitting up while pregnant safe?

Many ask the question: Is sleeping sitting up while pregnant safe? Yes, it is safe to sleep sitting up while pregnant. If your tummy is too big and you’re uncomfortable sleeping on a mattress, you can try to sleep sitting up in a recliner with plenty of pillows for support. Some women find relief by sleeping in a semi-sitting position in a reclining chair.

How Can I Sleep Better While Pregnant?

The best sleep position during pregnancy is to sleep on your side, or the SOS position for short. According to the American Pregnancy Association, sleeping on your left side is the best position for a pregnant woman. Not only does it reduce acid reflux symptoms, but it can also promote blood and nutrients to flow to the baby.

Here are the two best sleeping positions for pregnant women explained in detail by BabyCenter:

If you’ve watched the two pregnancy sleeping positions in the video above, you’ll notice that position number two tends to emulate sleeping slightly upright in a recliner. Not only does sleeping with a slight incline help with better comfort during pregnancy, but it may also help fight sleep apnea symptoms as well.

So, to summarize, you can sleep in a recliner while pregnant. The optimal way to find comfort while sleeping in a recliner is to sleep on your left side with a pillow between the knees. Alternatively, you can try sleeping in a recliner with a slight incline. Avoid sleeping on your back horizontally, particularly during the third trimester.

PRO TIP: Remember to consult your doctor before trying out a new sleeping routine. Every woman and every pregnancy has different needs and restrictions. If you think lack of sleep is becoming a problem, talk to your healthcare practitioner. He or she can help you find the root of your problem and solutions to get the rest you need.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, a simple post to answer the question: Can you sleep in a recliner while pregnant? At the end of the day, finding the elusive good night’s sleep is all about using the right tools in the right way. Hopefully, you can catch those much-needed ZZZs very soon. Here’s to your soon-to-be newest member of your family! 🙂