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Sleeping on your back during pregnancy

(27 Posts)
BuzzBuzzBuzzLightyear Sat 03-Jun-17 20:18:32


I'm 34 weeks pregnant and my friend was saying the other day that sleeping on your back can be dangerous for the baby.

I'm a natural back-sleeper. I googled and right enough - Tommys says it is increases the risk of stillbirth.

But....this is out of my control! I have been forcing myself to sleep on my left hand side (which isn't very comfortable for me) but several times in the night I wake up in a flap because I am on my back again! I can't stop myself rolling onto my back!

Whyyyy is it all so hard?!

BuzzBuzzBuzzLightyear Sat 03-Jun-17 20:18:58

Ahh sorry I mean that to post this in Chat.

AppleMagic Sat 03-Jun-17 20:21:49

Could you prop a cushion behind/under you so you're not completely flat?

TowerRavenSeven Sat 03-Jun-17 20:22:34

Just do the best you can. Start on your left and if you wake up on your right or back shift left again. When I was pregnant I slept on my left side which when not pregnant causes me awful migraines. Fortunately during pregnancy I didn't have any migraines. It is hard but I did it.

CherriesInTheSnow Sat 03-Jun-17 20:22:49

I'm surprised you can be comfortable on your back at that stage! It makes me feel nauseous smile

But I feel your pain; I always sleep on my tummy, the second half of my pregnancy was a nightmare not being able to sleep on it, I couldnt if I wanted to as it was so uncomfortable and the pain would wake me up if I rolled over. Im 18 weeks now and bump is getting big enough to have the same effect again, it sucks sad

Have you tried using pillows as a little barrier that help stop you rolling over in the night?

LiveLongAndProspero Sat 03-Jun-17 20:22:57

Are people still peddling this nonsense?

BuzzBuzzBuzzLightyear Sat 03-Jun-17 20:23:09

I tried that. It seems I launched it out of the bed while I was asleep 😕 I don't remember doing that. I'll try it again.

BuzzBuzzBuzzLightyear Sat 03-Jun-17 20:24:22

EsmesBees Sat 03-Jun-17 20:24:55

I found the weight of the baby restricted my air flow so I couldn't lie on my back in late pregnancy. You can use pillows behind you on your side to stop you rolling, but you will probably find it uncomfortable too soon.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Sat 03-Jun-17 20:29:47

Sleep however you're comfortable

newdaddie Sat 03-Jun-17 20:33:49

Dw used a pregnancy pillow like this one. But I think it's more important that you're comfortable and sleeping well than what position you sleep. If you're worried use a flat/feather pillow under one side of your hip so that you're not fully on your back. Or try propping one leg up on a couple pillows.

RNBrie Sat 03-Jun-17 20:35:12

As long as you feel well it's fine to sleep however you like. The blood flow bullshit has been completely debunked.

Louiselouie0890 Sat 03-Jun-17 20:37:02

Still birth? I've always been told and thought that sleeping on your left side was best for blood flow but neither way dangerous. I thought on your back was worse as baby can lie on nerves and stuff to do with your back and leave you in a bit of pain.

Dandandandandandandan Sat 03-Jun-17 20:38:41

I think it's only that there's more chance of you getting dizzy because the weight of the full uterus can press on a vein. My mw told me to sleep however I could. If you're sleeping at all at 34 weeks, you're doing well!

If you're worried, put some pillows behind you so that you won't be flat on your back when you do roll over.

Iggii Sat 03-Jun-17 20:47:50

Formerly I've just read that article and it doesn't sound like the possible connection between sleep position and still birth has been debunked. But it hasn't been proved.

RibenaMonsoon Sat 03-Jun-17 20:54:12

I didn't know there was a risk to the child but I had been told in late pregnancy it's a lot of weight for your back to be taking and more likely to result in back problems. I don't know how true that is.

If you are worried sew a pocket onto the back of your pyjamas and put something hard in it. It will force you back onto your side.

I found the pregnancy pillows to be good but they didn't always guarantee id stay on my side.

OhDearToby Sat 03-Jun-17 20:59:02

I'm a back sleeper when not pregnant and up until about 20 weeks. Then it starts to get too uncomfortable. I'm 38 weeks now and feel like I'm suffocating if I stay on my back for too long.

I have a complicated pillow system that keeps me comfyish on my side (normally my left but sometimes right). But then every time I have to get up to pee or tend to dd2 I have to sort out the pillows again. Cannot wait to get this baby out!

PeaFaceMcgee Sat 03-Jun-17 21:06:47

With some mums, the weight of the pregnant uterus can compress a big blood vessel behind when flat on your back - a theory for stillbirth as it may reduce blood flow to the baby, but not able to be proven.

If a baby's heart rate is particularly bad on labour ward, they turn a mum onto her side and give her oxygen.

If you feel dizzy and sick on your back (as some do), you probably wouldn't instinctively turn this way in your sleep. If not, it could still potentially affect things but you can only control so much.

Try to see if using pillows on your side can be comfy, but don't stress too much about it. I slept on my front somehow until 40 weeks!

PeaFaceMcgee Sat 03-Jun-17 21:07:42

If your mattress is super soft, or you have memory foam, it may well not be causing compression.

kel1234 Sat 03-Jun-17 21:08:28

I did. I sleep on my back mostly. I tried to sleep on my left side, certainly later on in my pregnancy, but I guess I inevitably went onto my back and right side during the night.

PeetingPan Sat 03-Jun-17 21:11:00

Usually when you wake up on your back and think "arg! I've been sleeping on my back!" you've actually only been there a few minutes and the discomfort has woken you.

You should sleep however you're comfortable unless specifically advised otherwise by a medical professional.

PeetingPan Sat 03-Jun-17 21:11:11

Usually when you wake up on your back and think "arg! I've been sleeping on my back!" you've actually only been there a few minutes and the discomfort has woken you.

You should sleep however you're comfortable unless specifically advised otherwise by a medical professional.

PeaFaceMcgee Sat 03-Jun-17 21:18:15

Looks like University of York have a large ongoing meta-analysis of all the available data on this, which indicates to me that we simply don't know the impact of sleeping on your back...

Would think it's really hard to get accurate self-reporting on sleep positions though, as PeetingPan says!

Heatherbell1978 Sat 03-Jun-17 21:18:33

Stillbirth? No I don't think that's true - it's potentially bad for you, not the baby. And if your body was struggling, you'd wake up. I'm a back sleeper and slept on my back during both pregnancies, I couldn't help it.

Applesandpears23 Sat 03-Jun-17 21:39:25

I use three pillows then another one below so I am sleeping propped up. Then in late pregnancy if I roll on my back I wake up short of breath. I think if you feel ok it is probably ok.

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