Pregnant women receive constant advice on why sleeping on their back is not good for them. Finally, there is a research that backs why it’s not such a great idea.
Researchers at the University of Auckland found a 3.7 fold increase of stillbirth among the mothers who slept on their back during their third trimester. The study was the first to confirm how sleeping position affects stillbirth among other existing factors. The research also pointed out that sleeping on your side, preferably left side reduced the risk of stillbirth by 9%.
Lesley McCowan, Head of Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology who led the study said that sleeping on the back especially in the late trimester significantly influences the fetus. Sleeping on the back presses on major blood vessels especially Vena Cava, which is a major blood vessel that transfers deoxygenated blood from the lower part of the body to the heart. Any pressure on this blood vessel will hinder the blood circulation. It reduces the amount of blood pumped to the heart and hence, reducing the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the fetus. Sleeping on the back is also related to disturbed breathing and sleep apnea.
The research involved asking 169 women who just had a stillbirth, at or after 28 weeks a range of questions that involved their behavior and sleep practices. The result was then compared to 569 women who delivered live babies.
Pregnant women should sleep on their side. Even better way to sleep is to turn on their left side. Use as many pillows as you want – underneath your back, between your knees, supporting your belly etc. Make yourself as comfortable as you can be so that sleeping on your back doesn’t even seem like a better option in any way.
While many pregnant women have already been informed that sleeping on their back is not good for them. It’s always best to stress the deplorable after effects it could have on them or their baby.