Midwives comment on maternal sleeping position

on 08 April 2019 Maternal Sleeping Position Stillbirth

Stillbirth risk increases by almost three times when women sleep on their back during latter stages of pregnancy  that’s according to findings of a new study published on The Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine.

The research, which was undertaken by a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, has shown that pregnant women can lower the risk of stillbirth by sleeping on their side and not on their back.

The findings of the new study will now be incorporated by the NHS into the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle advice information for pregnant women.

Responding to the findings, Mandy Forrester, Head of Quality and Standards at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “The potential for increased risk of stillbirth as a result of a pregnant woman's sleeping position is an important one and the RCM welcomes any such studies in this area.

“The RCM supports the advice contained in the Saving Baby Lives Care Bundle which recommends in later pregnancy (after 28 weeks), that it is safer to go to sleep on your side than on your back.

“Blood flow to the baby may be reduced if a woman spends a long time lying on her back and this is linked with an increased risk of stillbirth. If a woman goes to sleep or naps during the day, she should settle on her side rather than her back. If she wakes up on her back she shouldn’t worry, but should settle to sleep again on her side.

“It’s really important if you are pregnant and concerned about the right sleeping position that you speak to your midwife or GP.”

View the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle - version two.

To contact the RCM Media Relations Team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].



Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/