Sleep position and stillbirths...

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Sleep position and stillbirths...

What is everyone's thoughts on this? For me I always sleep on my right side with a body pillow. I do toss and turn a bit and definately get up 1-2x to go pee but if I sleep on my left too long I always get cramps/braxton hicks. I'll have to ask my doctor about this one!

Sleep position may affect stillbirth risk

LONDON — Women who do not sleep on their left side on their last night of pregnancy have double the risk of late stillbirth compared with women who do sleep on their left side, according to a study from New Zealand.

The researchers who conducted the study said women should not worry because the increased risk is still very small -- the chance of the baby being stillborn rises to 3.93 per 1,000 for those who don't sleep on their left from 1.96 per 1,000 for those who do.

A significant link was also found between sleeping regularly during the day, or sleeping longer than average at night, and late stillbirth risk, the researchers said.

Tomasina Stacey of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Auckland, whose study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), suggested that restricted blood flow to the baby when the mother lies on her back or right side for long periods may explain the link.

But she said the findings, which were based on a relatively small number of women, needed to be confirmed by larger, more detailed studies before any public health advice could be given.

"It's a new hypothesis and means we should start to look at this problem much more closely. It's really a starting point for future research," Stacey said in a telephone interview.

If the findings were confirmed, they might offer a simple, cheap and natural way to cut the number of stillbirths, she said. "It's something that's very easily modifiable. You don't need to take any drugs and there are no side effects."

A series of studies led by researchers from the World Health Organization and published earlier this year found that more than 2.6 million pregnancies a year end in stillbirth, many of them among women in poor countries. This means that every day more than 7,200 babies are stillborn.

Stacey's team interviewed 155 women in Auckland who gave birth to a stillborn baby between July 2006 and June 2009 when they were at least 28 weeks pregnant. These women were compared to a control group of 310 women with ongoing pregnancies.

The women were asked detailed questions about their sleep positions, and about going to sleep and waking up before pregnancy and in the last month, week, and night before they believed their baby had died.

They were also asked about snoring, daytime sleepiness, whether they regularly slept during the day in the last month of pregnancy, the duration of their sleep at night, and how many times they got up to the toilet at night.

The results showed no link between snoring or daytime sleepiness and risk of late stillbirth. But a significant link was found between daytime sleeping, or sleeping longer than average at night, and late stillbirth risk.

Women who slept on their back or on their right side on the last night of pregnancy were also more likely to experience a late stillbirth, and women who got up to go to the toilet once or less on the last night were also more likely to experience a late stillbirth compared with women who got up more frequently.

In a commentary on the study in the BMJ, Lucy Chappell, lecturer in maternal and fetal medicine from King's College London, said "any simple intervention that reduces the risk of stillbirth would be extremely welcome."

But she said the results should be interpreted with caution until more work is done: "A forceful campaign urging pregnant women to sleep on their left side is not yet warranted."

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Not buying it. Too small of a study. And even then the risk is still soooooo small. There could be any number of things that could have a much larger contribution to still birth other than what side mom slept on the night before labor started.

Then, I'm not at all an alarmist so I tend to not believe things like this u til they are thoroughly proven.

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Well considering I've had 5 babies and always sleep/rest on my right and I've had healthy babies I'm a bit surprised by this!

blondiess4u's picture
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I do believe that it is better to sleep on your left side, but I don't think that sleeping on the right side or back will cause a stillbirth. I'm sure there are many factors involved in it
I switch back and forth with a pregnancy pillow to get comfortable because my hips hurt. i aslo get up 2 to 3 times at night to go to the bathroom. I'm sure our bodies would let us know if something is wrong. I always wake up if i am laying on my back.

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I sleep on both sides but I lean on my pillow so I am more on my stomach. I have slept that way with all pregnancies. I know it is better to sleep/lay on your left side but it is impossible to sleep that way all night long.

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"rbrooks14332" wrote:

Not buying it. Too small of a study. And even then the risk is still soooooo small. There could be any number of things that could have a much larger contribution to still birth other than what side mom slept on the night before labor started.

Then, I'm not at all an alarmist so I tend to not believe things like this u til they are thoroughly proven.

Ditto this. Smile

OregonJewels's picture
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I sleep in whatever position I am able to fall asleep in! Sleeping is getting uncomfortable these days and I wake up a lot so I just do whatever I can do.

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I try to sleep on my side... either side, but always end up waking up on my back! My doc told me there is really no risk to the baby by sleeping on my back, but that the baby cuts off MY blood supply by doing this, so it will cause me to wake up... and then I roll back over onto my side and the cycle repeats itself.

Kate83's picture
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I think its kinda silly. I slept on my stomach till I was about 8 months pg with ds. now I sleep on my side by flip flop probably once an hour due to leg cramps.

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I don't sleep on my right but just b/c it hurts my shoulder for some reason. Sleep on my left or my back (for now).

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I hope they do the bigger study. It would be nice if this reduced the number of stillbirths there are, but I am skeptical that it would.

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:lurk: from Sept '11
From a research point of view, there are a few noticeable flaws with the study.

1) Sample size is very small (one group of 155 and a control group of 310).

2) Sample group is not very random- a group of women from one part of one country- makes it very hard to generalize results to a broader population (such as all pregnant women).

3) The way they collected data is not very scientific- asking women to recall what side they slept on and how many times they got up to pee for a pregnancy that ended (in some cases) at least three years earlier. Who's to say the recollection is 100% accurate?

I'm glad they at least mention in the article that this is super preliminary, and that conclusions should not be drawn yet.

I hate when they publish stuff like that though, because you know some poor pregnant woman read the article, jumped to conclusions, and is now afraid to sleep on her back because she's afraid she's going to kill her baby.

Sorry for jumping in on your thread! *tiptoeing back to Sept*