The danger of sleeping on your back

These days I find it a little more difficult to get comfortable in bed. Having a pregnant stomach means a lot more tossing and turning to get comfortable. Which is why I was alarmed by news I read about the link between a mother’s sleeping position and still birth.

As reported by ABC Radio, a study at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital found that women sleeping on their backs later in pregnancy were six times more likely to have a still-born baby.

In her interview with ABC Radio, researcher and neonatologist, Dr Adrienne Gordon said there is a physical explanation as to why that might be the case:

There is a biological rationale behind that which is secondary to compression on the large blood vessels and that return blood back to the rest of the bodies, so particularly the inferior vena cava situated at the back and on the right hand side of the aorta which is the main artery.

We know from physiologic studies that sleep position in pregnancy can affect an oxygen supply to the baby so we think this is predominately a kind of mechanical biologic rationale.”

Click here to listen to Dr. Gordon’s interview on ABC’s AM program.

Kate McEvoy-Richards, the ‘health dialoguer’ is a health-obsessed, professional communicator. She co-presents and produces Australia’s highest rating commercial health radio program, has her own business which helps healthcare organisations communicate more effectively and in her spare time she pesters family and friends with unsolicited health information. You can find her website here

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