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Seriously, how bad is it for you/baby to sleep on your back?

(19 Posts)
TreadmillMom Wed 20-Aug-08 10:40:00

I am 35 weeks pregnant with DC3 and have mild SPD which usually manifests itself in bed, I don't have to describe the pain I feel on waking to likewise sufferers.
I'm doing all the usual, pillows between thights, under bump etc.
However, I must say sleep on my back is pure bliss but because my MW said sleeping on my back cuts off the oxygen supply to my baby its really not recommended.
Now I have never heard of this in my 2 prior pregnancies but as I've heard it now it makes me totally paranoid.
My Active Birth teacher says this is totally untrue, if sleeping on my back wakes me up feeling dizzy etc then move its not good for me but will not affect the baby and rationally if it was so bad for baby why would the average MW put a lady on her back to labour? Valid point.
So what do you reckon and what do you know as fact, back or not?

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 10:43:42

Hm, well I was told that sleeping on your back can impact the blood supply to the baby, but that if it did your body would wake you up thereby solving the problem.
I don't have any scientific basis for believing that but it sounds true to me. After all, if our bodies were so stupid as to have something like sleeping on your back be a major risk, surely the human race would have died out ages ago??

mum2bagain Wed 20-Aug-08 10:45:45

I am also 35 weeks with DC4 and I have slept on my back for the past week or so, because I can't get comfy in any other position. Even when I do try and sleep on my sides, I always wake up on my back having rolled over. I don't see how you can stop yourself rolling onto your back once asleep. I personally think its fine, I've not had any problems as a consequence.

heavenlylily Wed 20-Aug-08 10:47:24

The issue here is that the weight of your baby and uterus puts pressure on the main vein returning blood to your heart (vena cava) so can theoretically make you lightheaded and as what effects you will also effect your baby I was under the impression that this is not recommended. However, I have also read that if you wake in the night to find yourself on your back don't worry, but you should try to go back to your side ideally.

mears Wed 20-Aug-08 10:48:17

FLAT on your back is the problem - we discourage women from lying too flat on their backs in labour. The problem is thatthe weight of the baby and uterus reduces the blood flow in your major blood vessels which in turn reduces blood flow to the baby. However you will feel faint if there is a big problem.

I had SPD and found that being on my back supported semi-upright with pillows and pillow under my thighs to put my hips at a 90 degree and was very helpful.

2catsand1rabbit Wed 20-Aug-08 12:58:58

I also find it more comfortable on my back and I find lately I've been giving it to it just to sleep. I also agree that surely with such a design fault, the human race would have died out years ago. I'm sure my Grandma wouldn't have been told anything about it when she was pregnant.

Anglepoise Wed 20-Aug-08 18:38:25

I've asked this twice in the last two days, as I find sleeping on my back soooo comfy!

My dad is a (recently) retired GP, had never heard of this and found it hilarious. I'm beginning to think that he never dealt with any pregnant women at all because every time I mention anything of this ilk (eating soft cheese, being anaemic, sleeping on your back) he seems to think I'm being completely neurotic!

I also asked a MW this morning, who, like mears said that it's fine if you're not flat on your back.

It's never made me feel at all light-headed, so I'm going to try not to worry about it too much!

Btw, the MW also said that she didn't agree that the pillow between the thighs was a good idea, but sleeping with your legs scissored apart might help. I'm fortunate enough not to have suffered with SPD though so don't know if that helps or not.

wellbalanced Wed 20-Aug-08 18:43:50

Is it also true that you are best sleeping on your left?
Thought id read/heard this somewhere??

expatinscotland Wed 20-Aug-08 18:48:02

how do you manage it? if i somehow roll onto my back DS boots the hell out of me till i wake up.

Smithagain Wed 20-Aug-08 18:52:20

My MW advised me to stuff some sort of thin wedge under one side of me, so that when I was on my back, I wasn't completely flat. Think I used a rolled up cot blanket.

clumsymum Wed 20-Aug-08 18:53:08

I can't believe it. Every year there are new "don't do this" rules to confuse/guilt infuse us about pregnancy or rearing babies.

If you need to lie on your back to get some sleep, lie on your back. I agree, millions of women must have done this in the centuries before someone thought up the idea that it might cut the blood supply, but babies still got born. My guess is that if it's going to damage anything, you'll feel some discomfort before it gets to the damaging stage.

It's like the great debate about whether babies need extra water to drink between feeds. In the nine years since ds was born the professional opinion on that one has changed 3 times !!

LackaDAISYcal Wed 20-Aug-08 18:57:54

wellbalanced, afaik the left side thing is that it encourages the baby to be in optimum position for labour.

i keep waking up on my back and very comfy it is too (am usually a sort of recovery position/front sleeper). I'm 29 weeks and was starting to worry about it, but this thread has reassured me somewhat. I have SPD as well that is worse by the end of the day and side sleeping with a pillow just makes it feel worse.

kazbeth Wed 20-Aug-08 19:03:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Anglepoise Wed 20-Aug-08 19:04:19

I've read that the left hand thing was because on your right your liver can put a bit of pressure on your blood vessels.

LO used to feel really heavy when I lay on my back in the first stages but not now - not sure whether s/he is now spreadeagled! And I feel most kicks when I'm lying on my side or, particularly, slumped on the sofa

notcitrus Wed 20-Aug-08 20:21:59

My NCT tutor and midwives all agreed that sleeping on your back can mean you feel a bit dizzy or get pins and needles, as a certain vein can get squashed. If that's not happening, feel free to sleep on your back - although with my SPD that's the most painful thing I can do!

I find side-sleeping on top of 2 duvets is the most comfortable, with a pillow under my backside to hold me in place. I tend to swap over every time I wake up. Allegedly the left side is more comfortable due to position of heart/veins/weight of baby, and it does seem a bit better on that side. The pillow-between-knees+thighs helps hold your pelvis in a straight line if you're on your side - helped me a lot with SPD until the last couple weeks.

I'm so glad I seem to have laid-back GPs and midwives - their response to anything is "relax, rest, chill out. And avoid food poisoning just because you'll feel like hell and we can't give you the good drugs."!

PetitFilou1 Wed 20-Aug-08 20:41:51

I couldn't sleep on my back - I couldn't breathe if I tried to (am 39 weeks). My friend passed out several times during a facial once when she was about 7 months pg and tried to lie on her back during the process. But I guess if you find it comfortable then there probably isn't a problem.

mears Wed 20-Aug-08 22:44:35

this new site may be helpful for those with SPD

Honeymoonmummy Wed 20-Aug-08 23:26:28

Notcitrus where are you supposed to get the pins and needles? I sometimes wake up with pins and needles in my arms but I think its when I've woken up on my side...

notcitrus Thu 21-Aug-08 00:14:57

No idea where one gets said pins and needles - I got the impression it was in legs and feet?
I get them in my arms sometimes if I've twisted a bit too much, but that could just be my odd shoulders and neck...

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