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Safe sleeping in pregnancy #SleepOnSide

Safe sleeping in pregnancy #SleepOnSide

Sleeping in pregnancy

In the last trimester of a pregnancy, sleeping at all can be a challenge in itself.

In fact, from personal experience both past and present, you’ll probably find that you get more shut eye on the sofa than when you’ve hit the hay.

Whether it’s weird vivid dreams about an ex-boyfriend, 4 wees per night, or just discomfort, getting 8 hours of sleep can be nigh on impossible.

No doubt, you’re laid awake at night wondering and worrying about what’s going on in your tummy.

The awful truth

The truth is, that unfortunately, complications in pregnancy tend to be out of our control.

According to baby charity, Tommy’s around 3,600 babies are stillborn in the UK every year.

That’s around 1 in 225 pregnancies, which is a terrfying statistic.

The UK lags well behind other developed countries in reducing this figure, but Tommy’s is determined to tackle it.

New research into stillbirth

Tommy’s has been working to identify ‘modifiable risk factors’ as one way of bringing down these unacceptable stillbirth rates.

Modifiable risk factors: things in day-to-day life you can change to reduce the chances of having a stillborn baby, such as smoking or obesity.

The clever people running these trials at the baby charity have today published a new modifiable risk factor in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (BJOG)1.

And believe it or not, but it’s something relatively simple that all pregnant women can do.

Sleeping position

Going to sleep on your side in the third trimester reduces your risk of stillbirth.

Can you believe that?

The MiNESS study found that women who go to sleep on their back (the supine position) in the third trimester have a higher chance of having a stillbirth.

Sleeping on the back after 28 weeks’ gestation has a 2.3-fold increased risk of late stillbirth compared with women who go to sleep on their side.

That’s actually a greater increased risk than smoking in pregnancy (1.9-fold increased risk).


So what is the key message?

If all pregnant women in the UK went to sleep on their side in the third trimester, MiNESS estimates a 3.7% decrease in stillbirth, saving around 130 babies’ lives a year.

Firstly, going to sleep on your side in the third trimester more than halves your risk of stillbirth. This includes going to sleep at night, returning to sleep after any night wakings and taking day time naps.

Secondly, the ‘going-to-sleep’ position is the one held longest during the night. Don’t be anxious if you wake up on their back, but should just roll back onto their side.

How you can help

Tommy’s want to spread the word about the #SleepOnSide campaign, and they need your help.

You can follow and share the research on social media:

Or to make it even easier for you, tweet this link to show your support.

1. This new research is the fourth research study to find a link between stillbirth and maternal sleep position, and confirms findings from three earlier studies in New Zealand and Australia.Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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16 Comments on "Safe sleeping in pregnancy #SleepOnSide"

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Mummy here and there

I had a pregnancy.pillow to help with some comfort but it was challenging and so exhausting X #twinklytuesday

Petite Words

Thank you SO much for sharing, so many things I didn’t know! We need more of THIS sharing of knowledge so we can get that statistic right down. #twinklytuesday

Emma : Ettie and Me

This is such an important campaign and such shocking statistics! The more people spread the word the better! x

Mama Grace

Wow. I knew to sleep on your side but didn’t realise the statistics. #TwinklyTuesday

Noleen Miller

When I was pregnant with both my girls – sleeping in my third trimester was very uncomfortable. Although I am not planning on having more children – this is good to know as I can share with friends. Thanks for sharing this as I was not aware of the risks involved in your sleeping position.#StayClassyMama

Nursery Whines

Was listening to something on the radio about this research. So important to get the message out there. A pillow in the small of the back can make all the difference for rollers. Great post. #stayclassymama


The still birth statistics are petrifying! Especially for a country that is considered pretty medically advanced. I always slept on my side because I always have and it was the only comfortable position in the third trimester. I hope this research can help reduce that number! Thank you for joining #ThursdayTeam

Lisa (mummascribbles)

I always fell asleep on my side during pregnancy and always had a little heart attack when I woke up on my back! It’s so interesting to know that there is even more importance for side sleeping. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday