Question: I’ve always slept on my stomach, but I’m afraid to now that I’m pregnant. I can’t seem to get comfortable in any other sleeping position. Any pointers? What’s the best position to sleep in while I’m pregnant?

Answer: It’s true that the two common favorite sleeping positions (on the belly and on the back) are not the smartest choices during pregnancy. If you’re a stomach sleeper, continuing this sleeping position while you’re pregnant is like sleeping on a watermelon. Sleeping on your back is more comfortable, but it rests all of the weight of your pregnant uterus on your back, intestines, and two major blood vessels. This can cause back aches and hemorrhoids, make digestion less efficient, and get in the way of your breathing and circulation.

Curling up or stretching out on your side (preferably the left side) with one leg crossed over the other and a pillow between your legs is best for you and your baby. It allows for a maximum flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta. It also improves your kidney’s functioning, meaning that your body can better eliminate waste products and fluids (and there will be less swelling of your ankles, feet and hands!)

Very few pregnant women find it possible to stay in this position throughout the night, though. So don’t worry if you wake up and find yourself on your back or stomach. No harm done; just turn back on your side. You might feel uncomfortable for a few nights, but your body will soon get used to this new sleeping position. You might try a “body pillow,” which is at least five feet long, or a wedge-shaped pillow. These unique pillows can make side-sleeping more comfortable and staying on your side much easier. Or, you can make a DIY body pillow by placing extra pillows against your body in different positions until it’s just right.