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