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That news story about still birth and sleeping on your back...

(30 Posts)
susiesheep2 Wed 15-Jun-11 15:37:51

Did anyone else read this? Says you increase the risk 4 fold :S

I am really struggling to sleep - on any side (33 weeks), I spend most of the night tossing and turning and to and fro to the loo. But I find myself waking up on my back most mornings (before I was pregnant I could never sleep on my back) now I find I can't sleep on my sides as baby just doesnt seem to like it, she kicks like crazy as though she is squashed.

Now not only can I not fall asleep, or stay asleep, but im worried that if i do manage to get to sleep im going to be on my back.... as I right this im practically falling asleep at my desk sad

Pamsie Wed 15-Jun-11 16:17:27

I haven't heard this! Could you point me to where I can get more info? I'm worried now as I can only sleep on my back as it is the most comfortable position for me right now. I try to sleep on my sides but it can get painful sometimes.

TransatlanticCityGirl Wed 15-Jun-11 16:48:02

I've not seen this story.

Everyone I've asked (midwives, obstetricians, NCT teacher, pilates instructor....) says that really the only problem sleeping on back poses is to the mother. and you'll know if you're in danger because you'll feel uncomfortable and want to change position.

I've slept on my back up until week 36 or so... then I would actually wake up in the night if I accidentally turned. and I'm like you, never really slept on my back (or at least was never conscious of it) until I got pregnant!

Interested to see the story if you have the link.

Have you tried wedging a pillow under your bump? My LO kicks like mad when I'm on my side unless i put a soft pillow under him. I think it stops him being squashed.

happywheezer Wed 15-Jun-11 16:51:48

Thre's very little info about this.
Only to say that you shouldn't sleep on your back because of the extra weight on your aorta. This is why they tip you slightly when having a section.
But nobody tells you this same as there's only one side you are meant to sleep on.

Pesha Wed 15-Jun-11 16:59:24

Link to BBC report here

It says it doubled the risk amongst those in the study but still to only 4 in 1000. It is also a very small study. I don't think it is conclusive evidence at all its just a possible factor and this study suggests it should be an area for more research in case there is a link.

pooka Wed 15-Jun-11 17:03:45

I was always told by my midwives to sleep on left side and to rest on that side too - to do with blood vessels and supply to the placenta I believe.

mouseanon Wed 15-Jun-11 17:03:53

I spend as much time on my right hand side as on my left, I wake up from the pain in my hips if I stay too long on one side. That story is a bit scary. Mind you in my last pg I could only sleep on my right hand side, due to a chest infection I couldn't breathe when I lay on my left hand side, and that was most of the last 2 months. I didn't get much sleep... Baby was fine though.

crochetcircle Wed 15-Jun-11 17:06:25

I'm reluctant to post this link from the Guardian as it nearly made me cry when I read it first - I'm struggling to sleep in any position too and this is the last thing I need at 40+4...

But here's the link and you can make your own minds up. I felt better once I'd read it a few times:

www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/14/pregnant-women-sleep-left-stillbirth

If you read the article carefully you will see quite a few caveats at the end meant to stop us pregnant ladies panicking. Such as:

Tomasina Stacey, a midwifery lecturer at University of Auckland, who led the study, cautioned pregnant women not to be over-concerned by the finding. "It was an observational study, not one that can show cause and effect – all it does is show an association. It would be premature to jump up and down and say that everyone has got to sleep on their left. It's a starting point for future research."

I didn't see the fourfold risk increase that the OP mentioned. Perhaps it was reported differently in another paper?

MamaLaMoo Wed 15-Jun-11 18:23:31

Article in British Medical Journal

The results also talk about the frequency of getting up to pee in the night and whether the women had a nap the day before, strange how the media doesn't jump on those two things but grabs onto sleep position. Summary from BMJ of full results below...

Results The prevalence of late stillbirth in this study was 3.09/1000 births. No relation was found between snoring or daytime sleepiness and risk of late stillbirth. However, women who slept on their back or on their right side on the previous night (before stillbirth or interview) were more likely to experience a late stillbirth compared with women who slept on their left side (adjusted odds ratio for back sleeping 2.54 (95% CI 1.04 to 6.18), and for right side sleeping 1.74 (0.98 to 3.01)). The absolute risk of late stillbirth for women who went to sleep on their left was 1.96/1000 and was 3.93/1000 for women who did not go to sleep on their left. Women who got up to go to the toilet once or less on the last night were more likely to experience a late stillbirth compared with women who got up more frequently (adjusted odds ratio 2.28 (1.40 to 3.71)). Women who regularly slept during the day in the previous month were also more likely to experience a late stillbirth than those who did not (2.04 (1.26 to 3.27)).

Two things to notice, the article refers to those who " slept on their left side" and those who "went to sleep on their left side" which is not the same thing, you cannot make yourself stay sleeping on the left all night as everyone rolls around, but you can choose to fall asleep on the left. It is also about women in late pregnancy and I see women on MN who are just 9 weeks pg worrying about which side to sleep on!

As a general point about research (I'm a scientist) this is a small group, normally you would need over 1000 participants to have reached the minimum level of scientific certainty (3 standard deviations away from chance) and this study has not been repeated and had the results confirmed. There is also no theory suggested which links the sleep position with stillbirth, this is a correlation found in one small study not a definite cause and effect explanation. Don'c panic!

MamaLaMoo Wed 15-Jun-11 18:29:20

Further to crochetcircles's post, this is at the end of the Guardian article

Lucy Chappell of King's College London ... argues that the finding should be treated with caution. "A forceful campaign urging pregnant women to sleep on their left side is not yet warranted," she said, adding that the study needed to be replicated to be conclusive. Alexander Heazell, of the University of Manchester School of Medicine, also pointed to a weakness – the fact that mothers were asked to recall their sleep position 25 days after a stillbirth.

Don't know about you but I couldn't remember how I slept 25 days ago, the women may retrospectively be trying to offer an explanation to the researcher for the loss of their babies and fall back on the commonly stated and as yet unproven idea that sleeping on the back is bad for you in pregnancy.

JimmyChoo17 Wed 15-Jun-11 18:47:13

A pointless statement in any article relating to a loss of a baby is....pregnant women told not to worry about findings......that is an impossible task after being faced with such a findings but very little to back it up or reassure the aforementioned pregnant people!

This topic had been the number 1 search engine trend today.

I for one can't stay on my left I can sleep all night on my right hand side. I sometimes wake on my back but usually I am at an angle due to the large amount of pillows propping me!

It's obviously been all over the news. My mum (usually the most laid back person ever!) just called to check I sleep on my left. "Well, I try to mum, but it bloody kills my hips if I stay there all night!"

Coppernoddle Wed 15-Jun-11 19:44:12

Hahaha!! P wrote a thread earlier today about this too!! Especially after watching baby hospital last night, have been paranoid all day!!

serendipity16 Wed 15-Jun-11 21:10:00

I thought that sleeping on your left side was what was always recommended due to getting more oxygen to your baby or something to that affect. Its not new news to me.
However i sleep on my sides when pregnant & can't sleep on my back as it makes me breathless anyway.
Also my daughter was stillborn & that morning i woke up on my left side. Granted it was an abruption but sleeping on your left isn't to do much imo, its just another thing to worry pregnant women sick.

Laura05 Wed 15-Jun-11 22:20:46

It is worrying but it also pisses me off.

I'm 33+5 and struggle to sleep at night as it is. If I can get a decent sleep on my back then that's what I'm sticking to!

As others have said its impossible to lie on your left side all night without moving and I also get really sore hips if I lie on my sides to long.

Sorry for my rant, I'm grumpy from a rubbish sleep last night lol

LAbaby Thu 16-Jun-11 02:42:13

I just can't stay on my left side, I always roll onto my back. I've been trying hard though as my doctor advised it after 30 weeks, saying it was much better for the oxygen supply to the baby.
But I am glad to hear there is a positive side to those half-a-dozen bathroom trips. I don't know where they found a heavily pregnant woman that needed to go to the loo once or less in a night!

Heartburn was least if I stayed on my left side.
I am impressed at anyone who can sleep on back at 33 weeks, I just felt crushed.
<<Shudder>> at the heartburn I had. Am remembering why I keep my legs crossed nowadays.

pooka Thu 16-Jun-11 06:27:21

If you get sore hips on side, have you tried having a pillow between your legs? I found tha made a massive difference and stopped my hips twisting.

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 08:18:23

pooka I have a pillow between my legs, several more propping me up, and a pile of 6 duvets on the bed. I'm lucky if I get 2 hrs sleep before the pain wakes me up. I have spd though which I guess is why.

When I was pregnant we were told to sleep on our left side and I just made myself get used to it. When my husband found out I had to sleep on my left side he actually stayed awake two nights watching me in case I rolled over in my sleep - rather sweet of him, until I explained he didn't need to worry about it quite that much. Try putting a pillow behind your back so even if you roll on to your back you are still tilting towards your left.

OiMissus Thu 16-Jun-11 08:43:51

I think the most important thing is to get some rest - in a position that your body is comfortable with. I have been trying to sleep on my left, I bought a big fancy curly pillow that sits under the bump and inbetween my legs... and I wake up with a dead arm, a broken shoulder, and a REALLY sore ear - that aches for ages after... I will persist, but I always wake at 4 in agony, and tired, and start tossing and turning - and then I don't care what position I'm in! Get some sleep ladies - from all accounts, we're going to need it!

issynoko Thu 16-Jun-11 16:37:20

I've always been told that sleeping on the left is the optimum position for blood flow tot he baby (am pregnant for the 4th time) but I couldn't do it all night without real discomfort. I can't sleep on my back either - my favourite position is on my front but at 16 weeks that's already off the menu for the next few months - too big already. I have a little wedge shaped pillow that I put under my bump and a widgey one for between my legs later on in the pregnancy. In the past this construction has meant I slept well - apart from going to the loo several times - but also had to wake up and transfer the pillows from right to left several times a night. This info will make me more aware of trying to stay on my left. I know 3 people who've had late still births - it's more common than I realised and it does make me more jittery now I'm 41.

bestemor Thu 16-Jun-11 19:38:37

"It would be premature to jump up and down...." Well, yes indeed, especially in late pregnancy!

Let's not take this stuff too seriously; we've got enough to worry about as it is.

Coppernoddle Thu 16-Jun-11 20:04:22

What a vote of confidence after watching maternity in crisis too!! Were being propper hit with it this week!! I think they've got it in for pregnant women this week! What a worry!!

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