Napping While Pregnant: How to Do It Right

Growing a baby is hard work and can leave women tired in the afternoon. Explore the benefits of napping during pregnancy and tips for doing it right.


Growing a human is hard work, and you may find yourself needing more sleep than you can get only at night. In fact, fatigue is often one of the first signs of pregnancy, and this can often last until birth (and beyond with the newborn sleepless nights). Even if you weren’t a napper before pregnancy, you may be now. 
Don’t fight the naps; science shows they’re good for you and your baby. So, nap without guilt whenever you feel the need, but be sure to follow these tips to make the most of your time asleep.  

Is Napping Good While Pregnant? 

When you’re pregnant, your body is undergoing continual hormonal and physical changes, which can be exhausting. It’s not just that growing a baby takes up a lot of your energy, either; your pregnancy may also be joined by other symptoms, such as morning sickness, that can be uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep quality, leaving you tired during the day.  
Daytime naps can help supplement the sleep you get at night, making up for any lack you get from frequent bathroom trips, an inability to get comfortable, heartburn, or restless leg syndrome.  
The amount of sleep that you get while pregnant is important for you and your baby, with a lack of sleep during pregnancy tied to complications such as preeclampsia, a serious condition that affects your kidneys and blood pressure. Preeclampsia can cause premature birth, so the more sleep you can get, even during naps, the better.  
In addition to lowering your fatigue, pregnancy naps can also reduce your stress. 
Pregnancy can be stressful enough as you prepare for your baby’s arrival while juggling work and life—add in sleepless nights, and you’re sure to feel downright cranky. However, naps have been shown to lift moods and alleviate stress, meaning that, with enough sleep, you’ll feel more ready to tackle the challenges of pregnancy.  
Any moms, or soon-to-be moms, out there have “mom brain?” It’s a real thing, not just a product of society, with scientists finding that, in addition to a lack of sleep, the hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy reduce gray matter in your brain and change how one part of your brain communicates with another. The result? You may find yourself forgetting things often or have a hard time concentrating.  
All this is to say that, yes, napping can be extremely beneficial while pregnant for your mood, happiness, brain, and baby.  

Tips For Napping While Pregnant 

Napping while pregnant can offer significant benefits, but it’s not always the easiest to come by. Here are some tips for making nap time a highlight of your day.  

Keep It Long, But Not Too Long 

There’s a sweet spot when it comes to nap length while pregnant regarding your baby’s health. Over 10,000 participants from the Healthy Baby Cohort were analyzed in a study to determine if there’s a relationship between pregnancy naps and birth weight, and there is.  
The study found that the longer a pregnant woman naps and the more frequently she naps during the week, the higher her child’s birth weight.  
The study revealed that there’s an ideal nap length, and that’s around 90 minutes. They found that naps of 60 minutes or less were more likely to result in underweight babies, whereas naps over 90 minutes increased the risk of an overweight baby. So, to make the most of your naps, cap them at 90 minutes.  
Are you struggling to sleep for more than 60 minutes? Don’t worry; not everyone’s work schedule allows for a 90-minute nap during the workday, and that’s fine. The study found that any amount of napping increases the chances of a healthy birth weight, so any time you spend asleep during the day can help.  

Sleep On Your Left Side 

While different sleeping positions can promote (or cause) different things for the average individual, when you’re pregnant, there’s a clear winner: your left side.  
Ample research has linked sleeping on your back during late pregnancy (28 weeks or later) with an increased risk of stillbirth, so once you hit the later part of your pregnancy, it’s best to save any more back snoozes for after the birth of your baby.  
As for side sleeping, sleeping on your left side has been shown to promote blood flow to the placenta, which keeps up your baby’s nourishment. Sleeping on your left side also prevents pressure from building on your liver.  
That’s not to say that sleeping on the right side is bad, but if you can, the left is better. Many pregnant women find that a pregnancy pillow is the best way to get comfortable on their left side, and it can be a powerful addition to your naps.  

Focus On Your Environment 

Your environment can influence how well you sleep (and how refreshed you feel when waking up), so don’t skimp on these preparations.  
Turn off your electronic devices (so that no notifications wake you up), turn on some white, pink, or brown noise to drown out interrupting sounds, and make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature.  
You’ll be snoozing before you know it. 

Sleep Changes During Pregnancy 

When you become pregnant, one of the first noticeable symptoms is often greater fatigue. This generally goes away shortly after the first trimester, only to return in the third trimester, when your baby grows in size, placing more stress on the body and requiring more from you to continue developing.  
Even if sleeping becomes challenging during pregnancy, getting as much sleep as possible is still important. For many pregnant women, naps are a great supplement to lessen their fatigue and offer a burst of energy for the remainder of the day.  
With benefits that include promoting a healthier birth weight, reducing stress (and the risk of certain complications), and staving off “mom brain,” pregnancy naps are undoubtedly important. By following the tips above, you can make the most of your naps, with each one supporting your growing baby until the moment when you two finally get to meet.


Written by

Jessica G.

Medical writer freelancer who has written hundreds of articles on varying topics. Masters of Engineering degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Copyright © Neybox Digital Ltd.