When you’re expecting, you quickly learn a lot about your little one. You discover early on if Baby is a night owl, thanks to those 1:00 a.m. kicks, and why it seems that your baby always seems to wiggle every time you drink a glass of water. They might respond to the sound of your voice (and your touch), and even have a special spot in your womb where they like to chill. So if you’re asking yourself, “Why does my baby stay on the right side of my belly?,” there are a few potential reasons why.
Is It Safe For Your Baby To Stay On The Right Side Of Your Belly?
Before you panic, it’s perfectly normal for baby to find a cushy space for sleep. Yes, your little one is often snoozing in utero, sometimes up to 15 or more minutes per hour, according to a PubMed study. That can explain why your baby might be hanging out in one spot, like the left or the right side. But if you’re worried about your baby choosing one side over the other, don’t be, according to Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN. “When the baby is head-first, it has two options, back to your right side, or back to the left side,” explains Dr. Langdon. “So, it is perfectly safe for the baby to lean to the right.”
But Why Does My Baby Lean To The Right Side?
When you think about it, your womb is your fetus’ own personal playground. That’s why they bounce about and play. But when they lean to the right, it can be for a variety of reasons, Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln explains to Romper. “It could be due to an absence of amniotic fluid, either due to membrane rupture or renal agenesis in the fetus where the kidneys didn't develop,” says Dr. Gaither. A PubMed study found that a decrease in amniotic fluid did correlate with a reduction in a fetus’ movements, which can explain the sensation that your little one is leaning to the right.
There is another explanation why your baby might be leaning towards the right. For example, if you have a bicornuate uterus (a congenital abnormality that makes the uterus appear heart-shaped), it could cause your baby to stick to one side. “A baby may stay in one position within the uterus due to a uterine anomaly such as bicornuate uterus,” says Dr. Gaither.
And then, it could just be that your little sweetie simply prefers that side. “Often at the end of pregnancy, a baby will ‘pick a side’ and stay there more often, but most babies will move around until labor,” Dr. Cynthia Flynn, MD, an OB/GYN with JustAnswer explains to Romper. “Theoretically, being on the right side would alleviate pressure on the mother’s aorta, but in reality, it's the mom's position that determines the baby's position.”
What Should You Do If Your Baby Is Leaning To The Right Side Of Your Belly?
Really, you don’t have to do anything if your baby prefers sleeping on the right side of the belly. “It’s not so much that the baby staying on the right side of the belly is a problem,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an OB/GYN and professor at the Yale University School of Medicine tells Romper. “We usually encourage women when they are lying down on their backs to tilt over to the left side-and it doesn't have to be a full lateral tilt-just placing a pillow under the hip will do it.” Why? Well, tilting the uterus off the vena cava helps return blood to the heart, which allows for overall better blood flow in the body. If you find Baby leaning to the right a lot, try tilting to the left to get them to switch position — and avoid lying flat on your back, if possible.
But if Baby just won’t budge from the right side of your belly, you might want to speak with your medical professional to find out why. “The easiest way to visualize fetal activity within the womb is to have a sonographic evaluation,” recommends Dr. Gaither. “It can detail anatomy, movement, amniotic fluid, as well as any anomaly or masses which can preclude normal fetal movement.”
Just like you might have a certain side of the bed that you prefer to sleep on, your baby may have also discovered that they like being on the right side of your belly. For the most part, it’s not a problem, but to ease your worries, you may want to talk to your doctor to ensure that your baby is snug — and safe — in your belly, no matter what side they choose to stay on.
Suwanrath, C., Suntharasaj, T. “Sleep-wake cycles in normal fetuses” 2010.
Sival, D., Visser, G., Prechtl, H. “Does reduction of amniotic fluid affect fetal movements?” 1990.
Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an ob/byn
Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an OB/GYN and professor at the Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Cynthia Flynn, MD, an OB/GYN with JustAnswer