To ask someone who had a still birth after the fact which way they slept the night before? While it's impossible to stay in one fixed position for sleep each and every night, it's best to completely avoid sleeping on your back, especially during the final months of your pregnancy. Place pillows between your legs and behind your back; full-body and wedge pillows, in particular, are a pregnant woman’s best friend. The size of the fetus and the uterus constantly increase and begin to squeeze organs and vessels. As the pregnancy progresses, some pregnant women may have trouble breathing properly or experience shortness of breath while sleeping on the back. Pregnancy pillows are designed to support you and your body so you can sleep in safe positions while pregnant. My doctor also eased my mind about it by telling me that it really isn’t THAT big of a deal if I wake up on my back. 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. Unfortunately, since its publication, two more recent studies muddy these waters a bit. I got a pregnancy pillow also. Both were quite small, and both relied on women’s ability to recall what positions they slept in. Thank you for sharing your research! Sleeping While Pregnant. The days were fine, but the nights were awful. I’m currently in my second trimester and have been told to begin sleeping on my left side. is too long to rest on my back while it’s the only comfortable position. The information is often so dumbed down that it feels infantilizing. I guess I won’t actually worry too much about it though! But if you want to get into the habit of favoring... Second trimester. I doubt that I am one of those very few women who would have any blood flow problem lying on my their backs. Prenatal Hub. Thank you!! Other possible complications associatedinclude difficulty breathing, backaches, hemorrhoids, digestive system problems, decreased circulation, and low blood pressure. Pregnant women may also talk to a doctor to discuss their options for comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy. 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! Researchers interviewed 155 women who experienced unexplained late stillbirths (after 28 weeks) about their sleep position both before pregnancy and in the last month, the last week, and the last night before their pregnancy ended. Schedule a … Sleeping on your side is the best position for you and your baby during pregnancy, especially once you're more than halfway through. This week, at 23 weeks pregnant, I have fractured my hip from sleeping in my left side from all that information. (Writing on iPhone so I apologize for any typos, errors, etc. Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can strain the back muscles resulting in backaches. Because the vena cava is located to right of your spine. In rare cases, the drop in blood pressure is severe enough to reduce heart output, lower oxygen going to the brain, and cause fainting. The reason has to do with your anatomy. The researchers estimate that left side sleeping would lower the risk to 1.93/1000, whereas right side or back sleeping would raise it to 3.93/1000. A pregnant woman woman’s belly can compress the inferior vena cava, a large vein running under the right side of her uterus; and compression of the inferior vena cava can cause a drop in blood pressure. But the most dangerous is the squeezing of the vena cava. About. 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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. 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? In part, this was because I wanted to be conservative: A tilt of 10 degrees (which you can obtain by propping up your right side with a pregnancy pillow or a regular pillow) has been shown to reduce the risk of low blood pressure. So nervous on what should i need to do and asked a lot of advices which confuses me already but after reading this article, it took the bean in my throat knowing that ‘am I am off to a good night sleep (finally!) Considered together, these two studies seem reason for caution, but not fear. 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. 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. Whatever might be other complications, sleeping on back will increase the chances of 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). Being obese, being over 40, and smoking during pregnancy are far more important. Most doctors recommend sleeping on your left side when you're pregnant. So please keep writing! The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side. “You only need to be slightly shifted onto your side to prevent this concern; sometimes this means just putting a pillow under your hip and shoulder on one side,” Heather A. Smith, MD, MPH, FACOG, tells The Bump. Think about it… not very scientific! Is Lying On Your Back During Pregnancy … We will never send you spam or ads. Coaching. Postnatal Member's Hub. 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). Sleeping on the back increases the pressure on the fetuses. The only remotely comfortable position was lying on my back, propped up with a couple of pillows. Funny thing is, I’m generally a side sleeper (when not pregnant). Even among those women, the changes in their blood pressure do not appear to affect the fetus. Their responses were compared to 301 control women, who were a similar number of weeks along but with ongoing pregnancies. Thank you for this article. 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. They have a number of problems. Lay Down Flat. Each of the 30 women involved in the study were between 34 and 38 weeks pregnant, and each of their pregnancies were complication-free. For me, sleeping with a pregnancy pillow, resting mostly but not completely on my back was the right choice. “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.”. Sleeping on your back during pregnancy can result in digestive issues like indigestion or heartburn. I am literally limping all day. Well, that’s just not an option right now. Funnily enough I have previously read the New Zealand data elsewhere and the part about getting up to the bathroom jumped out at me, as well. Eventually, I dug into the research myself. Trying to Bring On Labor? Puts me a little at ease, although that difference in stillbirth is a little concerning to me…. The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side. Here's How To Time Intercourse. And for the Ghana study, it’s unclear how the findings translate to women in a high income country. Your stomach? Your back? The second study was conducted in New Zealand. I would like to add that they state that the weight of the baby causes compression of the vena cava and therefore causes the mother to have low blood pressure or to even pass out. Your Due Date Is Wrong--So When Is Labor Most Likely? Months of sleep deprivation were my certain future. Although the drop in blood pressure is unlikely to harm the mother, the concern is that if a pregnant woman’s oxygen levels drop, her baby’s might too. If you think about the the TV program – My 600lb life. However, back sleeping is far from the most important risk factor linked to unexplained late stillbirths. Training yourself to sleep on your side may take time—and props, like pillows. But several pregnancy websites and and my OBs had warned me against sleeping on my back during pregnancy. Podcast. My third trimester in my second pregnancy was rough. But these big people rarely pass out and are physically unable to sleep on their left side. Back sleeping, pregnancy, stillbirth, safe to sleep on back when pregnancy. For me, sleeping in with my right side slightly propped up felt pretty safe. Learn how your comment data is processed. The reviewers build a compelling case: First, only very small percentage of pregnant women experience low blood pressure when lying on their back. But as your uterus gets heavier around mid-pregnancy, it's best to choose another position. Yes, there is a plausible mechanism for back sleeping causing problems. Experts emphasized that the findings did not prove that sleep location itself affects the risk of stillbirth. Thanks, Chris! It almost seems like that’s what happens with a lot of “dangers” around pregnancy. I’m no stranger to sleepless nights and they are the worst! Well done great article! Its conclusions are clear and reassuring. You can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and behind your back if you like. They are constantly on there backs and the weight of their fats far out weights the weight of an unborn child at 9 months. Correlation does not prove causation… every good statistics class should teach this. Sleeping on your back isn't the end of the world, but it can present problems, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. But during the second trimester of pregnancy, as the baby starts to grow, you might feel leg cramps, knee pain, back pain, etc. But the bulk of the evidence suggests that compression of the vena cava very rarely causes problems. But mostly, it felt comfortable. Pregnancy was supposed to be an opportunity to stock up on sleep before the newborn period. When asked, none of them could tell me the magnitude of the risk. This likely sounds scarier than it is. My masseuse friend tells me how messed up my hips are from doing this, and the nerve pain down my legs keeps me tossing and turning to the point where I give up trying to sleep at all. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The rationale for this prohibition is simple enough: lying on one’s back can cause supine hypotensive syndrome, sometimes known as aortocaval compression syndrome. Blog. 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. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. I have 11 weeks to go and cannot bear the thought of being in this much pain throughout. 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. More than anything, I wanted to disregard this advice. Did you avoid lying on or sleeping on your back during pregnancy? But, collectively as a department, specialists in high-risk obstetrics at University of Utah Health does not agree with the study. You want your head and neck to be in a … I had incredible hip pain from sleeping only on my sides while pregnant. Download The Appto explore more tools like Planner+ and Food Safety. 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. 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. Third, previous research did not examine back sleeping. As your uterus gets larger (usually by the time you’re 20 weeks ― that’s five months ― along), it’s big enough that it lies on top of your inferior vena cava, if you’re lying on your back, explains Cleveland Clinic Ob/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD. Free Stuff. Another might choose to sleep exclusively on her left side. At the end of pregnancy, a woman's uterus and the baby take up a large portion of the body. Third trimester. It can result in the mother having low blood pressure, and both the mother and the baby will receive less oxygenated blood. An early beta hCG test does predict your risk of miscarriage. Studies have found no effects on fetal blood flow or on fetal well-being during non-stress tests. The general consensus among experts appears to be a qualified “no.” Sleeping on your back is not the best position for your or your baby during pregnancy. The truth is, like you said, it’s just so much more comfortable! Good for you! Was it one research study and suddenly all OBs are telling women to sleep on their left side? The research only addressed positioning women during surgery, when they are completely immobilized and unable to change their position. Depending on her risk tolerance and ability to sleep, one woman might look at these data and feel fine sleeping on her back. I have to admit, many nights I wake up on my back wondering how long I’ve been that way and worried that I’m hurting the baby. And as a second time mom, I was desperate. It’s normal to change positions during sleep, and if you wake up on your back, you shouldn’t panic. No matter how hard I try to sleep on my sides, I end up on my back, and I feel really comfortable! When you lay on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy, the weight of your pregnant uterus can decrease the blood flow in the vena cava, the vein that carries blood from the lower part of your body to the heart. In my personal opinion, the research is not strong enough to support blanket warnings against back sleeping. “This big blood vessel is what brings blood flow back to your heart,” Dr. Zanotti explains. This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and … Yet, based on these data, no one has proposed that pregnant women should wake up more often to go to the bathroom. Thank you so much, Amy (and apologies for calling you ‘Christine’ – must be the sleep deprivation!). It has been a big help, but still nothing compares to my pre-pregnancy sleep comfort. 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. Stumbled upon this blog because I went looking for someone, anyone, anywhere, to tell me that it can’t possibly be *that* unsafe to sleep on your back!! Exactly, infantilizing. Thank you so again. There may be back pain and impaired intestinal function. Sleeping on Your Back when Pregnant. Instead, women should be told that a small minority of pregnant women feel faint when lying flat. Despite how scary this sounds (“I might be depriving my baby of oxygen without knowing it”), according to a recent research review, back sleeping is safe for the vast majority of pregnant women. This review was written in 2007. 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. 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. It’s frustrating how little the docs will tell you about how to know or sense if you are putting yourself or baby at any kind of risk. Researchers at the University of Auckland. Research suggests that, after 28 weeks, falling asleep on your back can double the risk of stillbirth. But until now, no study has ever actually monitored what’s happening to baby when women lie on their backs overnight. 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