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Don’t sleep on your back, pregnant women advised

Women who sleep on their back during late pregnancy may cause problems for their baby, say researchers who advise against the position.

Women who sleep on their back during late pregnancy may cause problems for their baby, say researchers who advise against the position

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Pregnant women who sleep on their back during late pregnancy may cause problems for their baby, say researchers who advise against the position.

The study by University of Auckland of 30 pregnant women at 34-38 weeks gestation is thought to be the first research to monitor unborn babies overnight and also record the mother’s position during sleep.

Previous research has shown the sleep position of women in late pregnancy – after 28 weeks gestation – is related to an increased risk of late stillbirth.

The New Zealand team found when a pregnant woman slept on her back the foetus was less active, and was only in an active state when the mother was on her left or right side. Activity is one measure of well-being.

Lead researcher Peter Stone said: ‘In the situation where the baby may not be healthy, such as those with poor growth, the baby may not tolerate the effect of maternal back sleeping.’


Stone P et al (2017) Effect of maternal position on fetal behavioural state and heart rate variability in healthy late gestation pregnancy. The Journal of Physiology. doi: 10.1113/JP273201/full 

 

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