Sleeping Upright During Twin Pregnancy

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When I heard the words “today is extra-special because I can see two healthy heartbeats…” the first word that uttered from my mouth was “oh”, quickly followed by “no”. Not because I don’t love babies, and not because I don’t love a good BOGOF deal… But how was my 5ft 3″ body going to house two whole babies? At that point I had no idea sleeping upright during twin pregnancy was a thing, you just have to sleep on your side, right?

Before my boys joined us I had no idea how tough twin pregnancy was. All symptoms are essentially doubled, from morning sickness to swollen ankles, feeling so full you might burst, yet being hungry all the time. My least favorite of these twin pregnancy symptoms was not being able to lie down.

Sleeping upright during twin pregnancy pinterest

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Why Does Sleeping Become Difficult During Twin Pregnancy?

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in is a challenge for all pregnant women. Medical experts advise not to lie flat on your back so as not to pinch the vena cava (an artery that supplies the placenta), so many of us have to retrain ourselves to sleep on our side. Once the round belly arrives the bump pulls your center of gravity out of whack and the pregnancy pillows come into play. A standard pillow between the legs helps balance things out too.

The average twin bump measures 6-8 weeks ahead of a singleton bump, so at 32wks your bump could appear and feel full term.

I, like many others, found the weight of the bump at this point increasing difficult to deal with, especially at night. Although pregnancy pillows make things more comfortable, they do not help with breathing difficulties. 

My boys were delivered at 36wks and for that last month, I didn’t sleep for more than 2hrs at a time. Gravity is your enemy here because as you lie down the two cuties on the inside move from squashing each other to a full-body-invasion. They work their way up inside your rib-cage at the expense of your lungs and your breathing. Don’t worry, they’re just prepping you for all the hard work you’ll be putting in during the twins’ first year!

sleeping upright during twin pregnancy 35wk bump
My 35wk twin bump!

Options for Sleeping Upright During Twin Pregnancy

As breathing is essential to Mom and Babies, often there is little choice but to prop yourself upright. You can get pretty inventive when you’re desperate and I tried a few different positions to catch some all important z’s.

Propping up in bed

As the bump got bigger and my breathing got worse, I began to add more and more pillows behind my head and shoulders. This helped at first although thank goodness we have a Kingsize bed because I had quite the mountain! By around 33wks I was sleeping sat completely upright and I was struggling not fall over sideways as my head tilted as I fell asleep. I started creating pillow walls on either side of me to lay my head but it started to involve some serious construction so I had to try something else…

Corner Sectional Sofa

We are lucky enough to own a sectional sofa, and I found the corner spot a real help. I could remain upright but with my head propped to the side. In this position, I could usually get stints of two hours sleep in before having to reposition myself. The weight of the babies made my butt and legs go numb if I didn’t move around every few hours. 

Recliner Chairs

We personally did not have a recliner, but I’ve heard of many moms sleeping upright during twin pregnancy using their nursery reclining chair to sleep in for the last month of pregnancy. Look for one that has a little head support at the sides and you should be onto a winner!

Take it Easy Mama

I really had no idea what perils moms go through to carry twins before I did it myself, and sleeping upright during twin pregnancy is no joke. The advantage of a month of mommy sleep training is that you are more than ready to take on the 24hr feeding of those space-invaders once they arrive!

Conserve your energy, your body is working double overtime… take it easy mama and good luck!

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About the author

Katherine is an electrochemist, hiking enthusiast, and family lifestyle blogger. As a mom of three, including twins, she enjoys DIY, travel, and eating good food. British born, Katherine moved to the US in 2014, and now called Las Vegas home.

4 thoughts on “Sleeping Upright During Twin Pregnancy”

    • Hi Gloria! I was told by my doctor not to lay on my back. I believe there is a blood vessel that supplies the placenta that can get pinched by the weight of the babies. It likely doesn’t matter in the early months when babies are tiny but it’s good training to start sleeping on your side as early as possible 🙂 That being said, I’m sure people have slept on their backs for years, if you’re worried check with your doctor. Congrats!


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