By Susie Paterson.
New research released today confirms that the risk of stillbirth is doubled if women go to sleep on their backs in later stages of pregnancy.
The Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS), published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is the largest study of maternal sleep position and risk of stillbirth.
The national charity, Tommy’s, has launched the SleepOnSide campaign to spread the word of how important it can be to use the correct sleeping position particularly in the 3rd trimester.
Marina Fogle, wife of celebrity TV presenter Ben Fogle, is backing a national campaign for pregnant women to sleep on their side to prevent still birth.
Marina who is founder of The Bump Class, has two children, Ludo, seven, and Iona, six, with her husband Ben Fogle. In 2014, their son Willem was stillborn at 33 weeks.
“Stillbirth is something that sends shivers down the achy spines of pregnant women,” she wrote of her experience in a blog on HuffPost UK.
“But stillbirth does happen, in fact every day, nine babies never get to open their eyes and see the wonderful world they were meant to live in. Nine sets of parents return home from hospital, empty handed and broken hearted.”
Thomas McEwan senior lecturer at UWS school of Midwifery in Paisley commented: “I don’t know how in depth this study has been, and I would hope that it doesn’t cause panic, but it certainly seems like a common sense approach.”
Researchers estimated that if all pregnant women in the UK went to sleep on their side in the third trimester, 130 babies would be saved a year – a 3.7% decrease in stillbirth.
The study did not find a difference in risk between sleeping on the right or left side.
Tips for going to sleep on your side
Put a pillow or pillows behind your back to encourage side-sleeping
If you wake during the night, check your position and go back to sleep on your side
Pay the same attention to sleep position during the day as you would during the night
If you wake on your back during the night, don’t worry, just roll on to your side
The study didn’t find a difference in risk between right or left side
Source: Tommy’s charity