A new study has found that pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs. Why? UK researchers looked at the possible connection between sleep positions and late-stage fetal death. The study, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is the largest study to date on the link between a mom’s sleeping position and stillbirth.
While this study does provide the clearest evidence connecting fetal health and sleeping position during pregnancy, it isn’t exactly the first of its kind. There have been several smaller-scale studies, in Australia and New Zealand, that have found the same effects.
The current research looked at the sleeping practices of over 1,000 British women. Of the women studied, 291 suffered stillbirth during the third trimester. The researchers found that the women who slept on their backs were 2.3 times more likely to suffer a stillbirth (the day after) than women who slept on their left side. This equated to 3.7% of stillbirths after 28 weeks happening to women who slept on their backs.
Along with sleep position, the researchers also found that the women who had stillbirths tended to sleep less than 5.5 hours the night before the fetal death occurred and took daily daytime naps.
So what does this mean for pregnant mamas? While further research is still needed, caution is key. Talk to your doctor about safe sleeping positions during your pregnancy.
What do you think about this new research? Share your thoughts in the comments below.