Sleeping on Side Reduces Stillbirth Risk: Study

From the WebMD Archives

Women should fall asleep on their side in the last three months of pregnancy in order to reduce the risk of stillbirth, a new study finds.

U.K. researchers analyzed 291 pregnancies that ended in stillbirth and 735 that ended in live birth and found that women who fall sleep on their back in the third trimester have double the risk of stillbirth, BBC News reported.

The position in which women fall asleep at nighttime and daytime naps is the most important and they should not be concerned if they're on their back when they wake up, according to study leader Alexander Heazell, clinical director at the Tommy's Stillbirth Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester.

"What I don't want is for women to wake up flat on their back and think 'oh my goodness I've done something awful to my baby,'" she told BBC News

"The question that we asked was very specifically what position people went to sleep in and that's important as you spend longer in that position than you do in any other," Heazell said. "And also you can't do anything about the position that you wake up in but you can do something about the position you go to sleep."

The study was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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