Sleeping On Your Back During The Third Trimester Can Cause Stillbirths

Editorial Team

During pregnancy there are various things that have to change to accommodate the fact that you have a baby growing inside you. While you are still dealing with your changing body and probably how your favorite food is now the bane of your existence. To top it off, you have to deal with the fact that you can’t sleep in your favorite sleeping position.

According to What To Expect, the ideal sleeping position for pregnant women is sleeping on your left side, a position that supports optimal circulation. However, I am sure we are all guilty of sometimes sleeping on our backs especially if we are already used to that sleeping position before getting pregnant.

As reported by News Hub, a new research has found that women are four times more likely to have a stillborn baby if they sleep on their back in the last trimester. The University of Auckland study says the risks are higher after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

"When you lie on your back in late pregnancy, the weight of the pregnant uterus compresses a big vein in the abdomen called the inferior vena cava, and that reduces the blood going back to the heart and it reduces the blood supply going to the womb."

Researchers found that the risk of a stillbirth associated with going to sleep on the back was higher in term pregnancies that is after 37 weeks compared to pregnancies between 28 and 36 weeks.

Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lesley McCowan, who led the study, said some midwives, obstetricians and childbirth educators had been advising pregnant women not to go to sleep on their backs since the 2009 research, and there had been a reduction in stillbirths since then.

"Now that we have confirmed our earlier findings, public health education encouraging women to go to sleep on their side in the last three months of pregnancy needs to be considered," she said.

"This simple intervention has the potential to reduce late stillbirth by approximately 9 percent."

She also said that sleeping on the back was also related to sleep-disturbed breathing and obstructive sleep apnea, which have each been associated with pregnancy complications.

While we have all found ourselves in positions where we sleep on our side but woke up on our back, it is advised that if you wake up and discover that you have switched position to your back, don’t worry about it too much just make sure you switch back to your side.

If you are having difficulties sleeping on your side it is advised that you use a pillow behind your back or sleep in a half-sitting position, propped up against some pillows, is also fine and can be helpful if you suffer from heartburn as reported by BabyCenter.




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