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Can I Sleep In A Recliner While Pregnant? An Expert Explains

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With the plethora of discomforts you may go through during pregnancy, finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be one of the toughest. You know that sleep is crucial for health, but comfort is crucial to sleep. You might decide to ditch the bed and try counting sheep on your recliner, but for the safety of your baby you may wonder, can I sleep in a recliner while pregnant?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the size of your belly, the pressure and pain in your back, acid reflux, insomnia, and shortness of breath can contribute to sleep challenges. Sleeping on a bed can exacerbate these challenges, requiring you to surround yourself with millions of pillows, while you toss and turn to get comfy. While recliners may look like an appealing alternative, there are a few things that need to be considered.

In an interview with Romper, Dr. Eva Martin, CEO of Elm Tree Medical, Inc., says that sleeping on your back during pregnancy causes worry 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.

"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," says Martin. She says that sleeping in a recliner may possibly be a safe alternative, as long as you don't lay flat on your back.

"If you are in a mostly upright position when sleeping in the recliner, it is probably safe. But, if the recliner leaves you flat, then this position could compress the IVC," Martin notes.

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Martin says, in any case, the safest way to sleep on your back is to place a cushion, pillow, or towel under the right side of your back, so that you are tilted towards the left. She says that this leftwards tilt should shift your weight away from the IVC.

So as long as you remember to keep yourself upright, and avoid lying flat, sleeping on a recliner can be safe. Just remember to relax, and get as much sleep as possible, because once your little one arrives, sleep may become something you dream about. (Figuratively speaking.)