Sleep in Pregnancy

Sleep in pregnancy is essential for maternal and fetal health, especially during the third trimester. It is well understood that supine sleep in late pregnancy reduces maternal-fetal blood flow as the weight of the gravid uterus may cause compression of the inferior vena cava [1] and/ or supine hypertension [2]. Maintaining a left lateral tilt while lying down/ sleeping relieves inferior vena caval compression by the gravid uterus and is thus recommended to pregnant women. Asking women to sleep on their left side is the simplest and cheapest intervention but that is easier said than done. 



[1] N. Robertson, S. Okano, and S. Kumar, “Sleep in the supine position during pregnancy is associated with fetal cerebral redistribution,” J. Clin. Med., vol. 9, no. 6, p. 1773, 2020.

[2] A. Heazell et al., “Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth - findings from a stillbirth case-control study,” BJOG, vol. 125, no. 2, pp. 254–262, 2018.

[3] L. M. E. McCowan et al., “Going to sleep in the supine position is a modifiable risk factor for late pregnancy stillbirth; Findings from the New Zealand multicentre stillbirth case-control study,” PLoS One, vol. 12, no. 6, p. e0179396, 2017.

[4] R. S. Cronin et al., “An individual participant data meta-analysis of maternal going-to-sleep position, interactions with fetal vulnerability, and the risk of late stillbirth,” EClinicalMedicine, vol. 10, pp. 49–57, 2019.

[5] T. Stacey, J. M. D. Thompson, E. A. Mitchell, A. J. Ekeroma, J. M. Zuccollo, and L. M. E. McCowan, “Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study,” BMJ, vol. 342, no. jun14 1, pp. d3403–d3403, 2011.

[6] J. T. Owusu et al., “Association of maternal sleep practices with pre-eclampsia, low birth weight, and stillbirth among Ghanaian women,” Int. J. Gynaecol. Obstet., vol. 121, no. 3, pp. 261–265, 2013.

[7] A. Gordon, C. Raynes-Greenow, D. Bond, J. Morris, W. Rawlinson, and H. Jeffery, “Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study: The Sydney stillbirth study,” Obstet. Gynecol., vol. 125, no. 2, pp. 347–355, 2015.

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