Researchers at the University of Auckland used an infrared video camera to record pregnant women’s sleep positions, while also monitoring the heart rates of moms and babies. Don't worry if you wake up on your back – the research looked at the position women fell asleep in, as this is the position we keep for longest. If you typically sleep on your back, it's safe to continue doing so through the first trimester. When did this tale of back sleeping risk become so prevalent? Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can strain the back muscles resulting in backaches. Even so, sleeping on one’s back the night before corresponded to a higher risk of a late stillbirth compared to sleeping on one’s left side. Did you avoid lying on or sleeping on your back during pregnancy? But several pregnancy websites and and my OBs had warned me against sleeping on my back during pregnancy. But the bulk of the evidence suggests that compression of the vena cava very rarely causes problems. Ways to make side sleeping work First trimester. This magnitude of the increase was comparable to back sleeping. “Leaning against this pillow can make you feel like you’re on your back so that you’re comfortable, but give you enough of a slant or angle so that your uterus is shifted off of the vessels.”. The only remotely comfortable position was lying on my back, propped up with a couple of pillows. It has been a big help, but still nothing compares to my pre-pregnancy sleep comfort. We’ll also take a look at some of the common sleep conditions that can arise during the second trimester, including sleep apnea and heartburn, and provide advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. A broke hip, or possibly getting a bit fainty, which I haven’t experienced on my back at all anyway? At the end of pregnancy, a woman's uterus and the baby take up a large portion of the body. My ob believes a woman will move in her sleep if something is pressing g and cutting if circulation to anywhere in your body and I’m an at least now for 4 weeks, totally unable to sleep on my left anyway. Also, when my obstetrician checked the blood flow to my placenta last time, I was lying on my back, and blood flow was good! I think these researchers need to contemplate what they are actually asking of our bodies when they put this information out. Only Nipple Stimulation Works. The rationale for this prohibition is simple enough: lying on one’s back can cause supine hypotensive syndrome, sometimes known as aortocaval compression syndrome. Thank you so much, Amy (and apologies for calling you ‘Christine’ – must be the sleep deprivation!). You want your head and neck to be in a … I doubt that I am one of those very few women who would have any blood flow problem lying on my their backs. Thanks again for sharing! I know exactly what you mean. I’ve stressed over how long, 5 mins? Thanks for the great article! The information is often so dumbed down that it feels infantilizing. Thanks, Chris! There may be back pain and impaired intestinal function. Researchers at the University of Auckland used an infrared video camera to record pregnant women’s sleep positions, while also monitoring the heart rates of moms and babies. I just wanted to thank you for your blog. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sleeping on your back, especially in later stages, is not recommended during pregnancy for the following reasons: The weight of the growing uterus and fetus presses on the inferior vena cava (the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart). I am 26 weeks pregnant and write this at 3am as sleeping on my left side is almost impossible and I have been through sleepless nights scared of sleeping in my back. Contact. Maybe now I can stop experiencing this seemingly neverending insomnia.. You’re welcome! This likely sounds scarier than it is. Once I did, I understood why the advice is confusing to mothers: the underlying research is a mess. Amy NortonHealthDay Reporter Thursday, January 8, 2015 (HealthDay News)-Women lying on their backs in late pregnancy may be at a relatively high risk of stillbirth if they already have other risk factors, a new study says Suggests. I used to sleep on my tummy before I was pregnant and since the start of the pregnancy I have been told to sleep on the left side. Third trimester. Otherwise try sleeping in a recliner or other comfy armchair, if you have one, in a semi-upright position. To put this risk further in perspective, the New Zealand study also found that going to the bathroom an average of once a night or less (as opposed to two or more times) was associated with an increased risk of a stillbirth. I am totally miserable today due to sharp pains in my right thigh and hip from sleeping on my side (when I would normally sleep on my back). Lying on your back cuts off blood supply by compressing the inferior vena cava. Gives me peace of mind knowing that the risk of sleeping in the back is low. The reason has to do with your anatomy. No matter how hard I try to sleep on my sides, I end up on my back, and I feel really comfortable! But, collectively as a department, specialists in high-risk obstetrics at University of Utah Health does not agree with the study. Thank you so much for this well-written article and well-researched topic! Sleeping While Pregnant. Forget Sex and Spicy Foods. I had incredible hip pain from sleeping only on my sides while pregnant. Sleeping on the back for hardly one or a couple of times should impact the rate of stillbirth. I fall asleep on my side and still end up on my back. A number of normal symptoms during pregnancy might affect or disturb your sleep, including: Physical discomfort, such as tender breasts and back pain. Instead, women should be told that a small minority of pregnant women feel faint when lying flat. But your body may have a way of solving the question for you: if you sleep on your back, you may wake up before long, anyway. But as your uterus gets heavier around mid-pregnancy, it's best to choose another position. In fact, sleeping on one’s right side or in any other position than on the left side correlated with a higher risk of stillbirth. A few tips to help you sleep better: You don’t like sleeping on your side. 20 mins? But until now, no study has ever actually monitored what’s happening to baby when women lie on their backs overnight. Strong circulation and blood supply help in the development of your fetus in the womb. Having previously miscarried I have been torturing myself during this pregnancy trying to sleep on my left hand side despite severe hip bursitis – with resulting sleepless nights! I got a pregnancy pillow also. When you lie on your This review was written in 2007. While some pregnant women may choose sleeping on the back even during pregnancy, it is suggestable to practice and try sleeping on the left side instead. I am more comfortable in sleeping in my back than doing the side lying positions which numbs my hands and leaves hip pain to me. To ask someone who had a still birth after the fact which way they slept the night before? Pregnancy pillow + 2 cushions got me through the 2nd trimester but now in the 3rd trimester I am in so much pain from sleeping this way. I’m no stranger to sleepless nights and they are the worst! Thank you so again. Its conclusions are clear and reassuring. You probably already know you’re supposed to sleep on your side during the later stages of pregnancy. Exactly, infantilizing. You can lean back against a pillow while or your side if you want. I’m an engineer, it drives me crazy I can’t get my hands on real data and information when making such big decisions. Compared to women who slept in another position, the 21 women who reported either sleeping on their backs or “backs and sides”, had higher rates of NICU admissions (36.8% vs 15.2%) and stillbirths (15.8% vs 3.0%), and were more likely to have given birth to an underweight baby (36.8% vs 10.7%). I am off to a good night sleep (finally!) The truth is, like you said, it’s just so much more comfortable! In the reviewers words: Advising women to sleep or lie exclusively on the left side is not practical and is irrelevant to the vast majority of patients. The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side. While counting kicks and sleeping on your left side aren't a guarantee that you'll have a safe and healthy pregnancy, they are easy, low cost ways to reduce the risk. Back sleeping, pregnancy, stillbirth, safe to sleep on back when pregnancy. Sleeping on your back isn't the end of the world, but it can present problems, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. For me, sleeping in with my right side slightly propped up felt pretty safe. That if some research suggests there’s even the slightest chance that something you’re doing could cause problems for the baby, doctors across the board will tell every patient not to do it and, as a patient who wants a solid explanation and evidence around it, I find this aggravating. In addition, sleeping on back during pregnancy may also affect the functioning of the placenta and may interfere with the delivery of nutrients and blood to your growing baby. In rare cases, the drop in blood pressure is severe enough to reduce heart output, lower oxygen going to the brain, and cause fainting. When you lie on your back, the weight of your uterus and the baby presses on your inferior vena cava, which is a vein that carries deoxygenated blood … It almost seems like that’s what happens with a lot of “dangers” around pregnancy. We all need to sleep comfortably as possible, especially before we have a newborn waking us up at night. Funny thing is, I’m generally a side sleeper (when not pregnant). And I hope your insomnia eases up. Pregnancy pillows are designed to support you and your body so you can sleep in safe positions while pregnant. Sleeping on your side is the best position for you and your baby during pregnancy, especially once you're more than halfway through. While pregnant I often thought about my mother and grandmother…did they avoid sleeping on their backs with all of their 11 (combined) healthy pregnancies? Podcast. Sleeping on the back increases the pressure on the fetuses. “We … My third trimester in my second pregnancy was rough. Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can result in digestive issues like indigestion or heartburn. During pregnancy, you will often hear that sleeping on your back is a bad idea. But I needed to know how big a risk, if any, I would be taking by sleeping on my back. Each of the 30 women involved in the study were between 34 and 38 weeks pregnant, and each of their pregnancies were complication-free. But mostly, it felt comfortable. Place pillows between your legs and behind your back; full-body and wedge pillows, in particular, are a pregnant woman’s best friend. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I will go to my side again, but in the morning I end up waking up on my back, hands behind my head just like I usually sleep. Sleeping on Your Back when Pregnant. Pregnant women may also talk to a doctor to discuss their options for comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. As if women weren’t able to sense their own bodies and shift as they needed to. Being obese, being over 40, and smoking during pregnancy are far more important. 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