Pregnant woman lie on left side

During pregnancy, you may find yourself tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable sleep position to accommodate your new belly. Expectant moms who are used to sleeping flat on their backs or on their tummies – you will eventually need to adjust your sleep position during pregnancy to the side, preferably the left. Even if you start out on your side, it’s very likely that you’ll end up in your usual sleep position come the morning, especially at first. Women who do not go to sleep on their left side on their last night of pregnancy have a doubled risk of late stillbirth compared with women who sleep on their left side, new research shows. Women who sleep on their left side on their final night of pregnancy could halve the risk of their baby being stillborn compared to women who do not, a new study has found. Sleeping on the left allows free circulation through a large blood vessel that runs along the right hand side of the spine, maximising blood flow to the baby. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that the absolute risk of late stillbirth for women who went to sleep on their left was 1.96 per 1,000.

The risk doubled to 3.93 per 1,000 for those who slept in any other position (such as on the right side or on the back). The study, which was published in the journal BMJ, involved interviews of 155 women in Auckland who had a stillborn baby between 2006 and 2009 when they were at least 28 weeks pregnant.
The women were asked about sleep position on the final night of pregnancy, as well as in the final week and final month. It is thought that rising during the night may help raise blood pressure in women with naturally low blood pressure, thereby ensuring enough blood gets to the baby, said Dr Jane Warland, a midwife and expert in stillbirth from the University of South Australia.
Dr Warland, who usually advises pregnant women to start left side-sleeping from at least 28 weeks onward, said around 1 in 140 babies are stillborn in Australia. Check out our tips to help you sleep on your side (even better, your left side) during pregnancy. Sleeping in this position can also help decrease back pain during pregnancy, especially if you use a pillow underneath your belly.

Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can actually decrease circulation flow to your heart as well as to baby because of your abdomen settling on your intestines and the aorta and vena cava blood vessels. American Pregnancy also suggests propping your upper body up to decrease nighttime heartburn as well as shortness of breath late in your pregnancy.
Sleeping on your stomach is not suggested either, especially as your belly gets bigger later in your pregnancy. To help you relax and get comfortable in your new position, make sure your room is cool (some pregnant women tend to get hot at night), dark and quiet.

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