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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Sleep position may reduce risk of stillbirth

16th June 2011

An expert from King’s College London has welcomed research that could help reduce the risk of stillbirth.


In an accompanying editorial to the research findings published in bmj.com, Dr Lucy Chappell said that as the UK had one of the highest rates of stillbirth in the developed world "any simple intervention that reduces the risk of stillbirth would be extremely welcome".

Her comments come as research suggested that women who go to sleep in any position but their left side on their last night of pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to a stillborn child as women who sleep on their left side.

The absolute risk of late stillbirth for women who sleep on their left side was 1.96 per 1,000 compared with 3.93 per 1,000 for those who slept in other positions.

Researchers interviewed 155 women in Auckland, New Zealand, who gave birth to a stillborn between July 2006 and June 2009 when they were at least 28 weeks pregnant.

These women were compared with a group of 310 women whose pregnancies were at the same stage and ongoing.

There has been links between sleep disordered breathing and pregnancy complications, but authors wanted to examine if sleep patterns had any influence.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said many factors have been linked to stillbirth, including obesity, older maternal age, ethnicity, congenital anomalies and placental conditions with a “significant number” unexplained but more research was needed into sleep patterns before any firm conclusions could be made.


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