A new study finds that pregnant women should sleep on their sides in their last trimester. According to researchers, sleeping on their back could cause stillbirth.
The study found that mums-to-be’s sleeping positions having a significant effect on baby’s heart rates.
Foetuses’ hearts become less active when their mothers lie-facing upwards as opposed to on their sides, the research further adds.
According to older studies, sleeping on the back in late pregnancy puts excessive weight on the blood vessels that supply the uterus, resulting in a reduction in oxygen supply to the baby.
According to lead author Professor Peter Stone from the University of Auckland, there is now sufficient evidence to recommend mothers avoid sleeping on their back in late pregnancy.
The study which saw the participants’ sleeping positions determined via video recording revealed pregnant women's sleeping positions have a significant effect on their babies' heart rate variability.
When such women sleep on their backs, their babies are less active than when they nod off on their sides.
The lead author added that sleeping on the back may make babies unhealthy, resulting in poor growth.
If mothers-to-be change their position during sleep, for instance from lying on their left to their back, the baby quickly becomes 'quieter'.
The findings were published in The Journal of Physiology.