by Staff writer
Pregnant women are at twice the risk of suffering stillbirths if they sleep on their backs in the last three months of pregnancy, according to new research.
A large-scale study of pregnant women in England found a 2.3 fold increase in the risk of late stillbirth among those who went to sleep on their backs in the third trimester.
Researchers estimated there would be a 3.7 per cent decrease in stillbirth if all women in the UK went to sleep on their sides in the final months before childbirth – saving 130 lives a year.
Pregnancy support charity Tommy’s has launched the Sleep on Side campaign to raise awareness among women of the risks of going to sleep on their backs for any kind of sleep late in pregnancy.
The charity advises women to go to sleep on their sides, but not be concerned if they wake up on their back as the position at falling asleep is usually held longest during the night.
Should they wake in the middle of the night they should roll on to their sides before going back to sleep, the charity says.
In 2015 there were 2.6 million stillbirths globally, with more than 7178 deaths a day. The majority of these deaths occurred in developing countries.