Moms-to-be, take note that if you are used to sleeping flat on your back, you might want to avoid doing so in the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Reducing supine sleep - lying horizontally with the face and torso facing up during late pregnancy- may improve maternal and foetal health. As part of a recent research, there was an improvement observed in both maternal and foetal parameters during the intervention night when the women were being observed. It led to an increase in median minimum maternal oxygen saturation, fewer maternal oxygen desaturations and fewer foetal heart rate decelerations.
“Our findings suggest that women can comfortably sleep wearing a device around their waist that effectively stops them from sleeping on their back,” said principal investigator Jane Warland of the University of South Australia. “Using positional therapy to keep the pregnant mother off her back may reduce supine sleep in late pregnancy and may also provide both maternal and foetal health benefits, with minimal impact on maternal perception of sleep quality and sleep time,” added Jane.
According to the authors, most pregnant women spend about 25 per cent of their sleep time in the supine position. This might be a risk factor for stillbirth and low birth weight because the fetus might be deprived of oxygen when one sleeps on the back. “Wearing a device that minimises back sleep, and which is comfortable and doesn’t impact the mother’s sleep length or quality, may be a simple way to reduce stillbirth incidence, especially if the mother is at increased risk due to other factors,” Warland said.