Further investigation into how pregnant women’s sleeping positions affect their unborn babies has been called for. A very small new study has linked sleeping on your back or right hand side to an increased risk of stillbirth, reports the BBC.
In the original study, pregnant women’s sleeping positions were compared to the outcome of their pregnancies. Sleeping on your right hand side or back was found to double the risk of stillbirth from two in 1,000 to four in 1,000.
However, the study was of a small group (just 155 women who’d experienced late stillbirth and 310 women who’d had healthy pregnancies), and experts have stressed that lots of other factors are linked to stillbirth. They have called for more investigation to prevent worrying mums-to-be unnecessarily.
“There are many factors which are linked to stillbirth including obesity, increasing maternal age, ethnicity, congenital anomalies and placental conditions,” said Ms Daghni Rajasingam, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
“The study will require further validation before any widespread public health campaign could be justified,” said Janet Scott, from the stillbirth and neonatal-death charity Sands.
Although this study makes a link, it’s important to remember that stillbirth rates are low. There is also no evidence the rate has increased in recent years, despite high profile mums-to-be going through tragic losses (link). If you are at all concerned, speak to your midwife.