Sleeping On Your Back During Pregnancy Doesn’t Harm Your Baby, Says Study

Each year about 140 million women around the globe give birth after months of physical toil. Pregnancy is tough and changes your body in more ways than an inexperienced person can think of. With the changes that you notice in your figure, you also have to alter your lifestyle significantly. This is not only done for the purpose of protecting the baby, but also the mother’s health.

One common recommendation that almost all pregnant women hear is this – don’t sleep on your back as your pregnancy advances. The concept is simple, sleeping on your back after the third trimester can be awfully uncomfortable. As it is about 76% of women can’t sleep properly during these months, according to a 2016 study.

It is believed that sleeping on the back can up the risk of pregnancy complications as well as harm the health of the mother and her baby. However, a new research work says that you don’t only have to rely on your left side. Sleeping in other positions shouldn’t be a problem either.

You Can Sleep In Any Position During Your Pregnancy

For the purpose of this research, scientists analyzed data on the results of 8709 pregnant women. These participants had completed a sleep questionnaire before their 30 weeks’ gestation. Of these, about 1903 women, that is 22%, experienced serious complications during their pregnancies. These included high blood pressure, stillbirth or a newborn baby too small for its gestational age.

Researchers noted that there was no difference in women who slept on their right side or their back and those who slept on their left side. Women were equally likely to have serious complications regardless of their sleeping position.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Silver pointed out that “there is potential to increase anxiety in women who wake up on their backs and guilt, shame and self-blame in women suffering adverse pregnancy outcomes such as stillbirth.” However, a woman’s sleeping position doesn’t have much of an impact on the outcome of her pregnancy.

In fact, the study found that women who were overweight, obese or had diabetes and hypertension before their pregnancy were more likely to have serious pregnancy complications. Some previous studies have said that sleeping on the back can be harmful because it compresses the blood vessels that circulate blood around the uterus.

Can Sleeping On Your Back Adversely Impact Your Health When Pregnant?

Sleeping on your back purposefully or accidentally doesn’t harm the health of your baby. However, some experts say that it can damage your health. This is why it is best to avoid sleeping on your back once you pass your first trimester.

The position gets uncomfortable as your body and your baby grow. The pressure of your abdomen on your intestines and blood vessels may cause backaches, digestive problems, low blood pressure, breathing complications, and hemorrhoids.

Experts recommend sleeping on your left side as that increases the blood and nutrients that go to the placenta. You can also put a pillow between your knees while keeping your legs bent when asleep. The National Institutes of Health recommend women to get additional night-time sleep during their pregnancy. They should also take frequent naps throughout the day.