According to a new study, pregnant women who sleep on their backs during their third trimester are more than twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth.
The study, based out of the UK, estimates that there would be a 3.7 per cent decrease in stillbirths if all pregnant women slept on their sides during their final trimester.
Previous research reveals babies' heart rates are less active when their mothers sleep on their backs, which may be due to the weight of the foetuses putting pressure on blood vessels and therefore restricting the infants' oxygen supply.
Lead author Professor Alexander Heazell from Tommy's Stillbirth Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, said: 'Around 11 babies are stillborn every day in the UK. Parents want to know why their baby has died, whether it might happen again if they try for another baby and what they can do to avoid further stillbirth.'
Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), added: 'This addition to current knowledge is very welcome.It is a simple change that can make a difference'.
Results from the study revealed that pregnant women who sleep on their backs during their third trimester are 2.3 times more likely to suffer a stillbirth the following day compared to those who nod off on their side.
The findings were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Tips to helping pregnant women sleep on their sides
- Put a pillow behind your back
- Re-position if you wake in the night on your back
- If you plan to have a daytime nap position yourself on the side