Research has found that most pregnant women spend 25 percent of their sleep time in a dangerous back sleeping position…

Sleeping in the supine position (on the back) during pregnancy increases the risk for stillbirth and low birth weight. However, most pregnant women spend about 25 percent of their sleep time in this position.

Why is it dangerous?

Back sleeping may be a risk factor for stillbirth and low birth weight due in part to an exacerbation of sleep-disordered breathing and deprivation of oxygen to the foetus when sleeping on the back.

This is according to a new study that found a simple intervention to reduce supine sleeping in late pregnancy is good for moms and babies.

“Our findings suggest that women can comfortably sleep wearing a device around their waist that effectively stops them from sleeping on their back,” says principal investigator Jane Warland, PhD, associate professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of South Australia in Adelaide.

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“Using positional therapy to keep the pregnant mother off her back may reduce supine sleep in late pregnancy and may also provide both maternal and foetal health benefits, with minimal impact on maternal perception of sleep quality and sleep time.”

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Good for mom and baby

The study, which included 25 pregnant women, found that the average time spent sleeping supine was reduced significantly from 48,3 minutes during the control night to 28,5 minutes during the intervention night.

Improvement was observed in both maternal and foetal parameters during the intervention night, with an increase in average minimum maternal oxygen saturations, fewer maternal oxygen desaturations, and fewer foetal heart rate decelerations.

Source: ‘American Academy of Sleep Medicine’ via

All4women Health Editor’s note: If you are a natural back sleeper, you may find that arranging pillows behind your back is enough to help you sleep on your side. Alternatively, talk to your doctor or midwife about the best ways as to how to avoid sleeping on your back while pregnant.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.