Pregnant women who sleep on their backs may increase the risk of miscarriage, Australian research has found.
The study, known as the Sydney Stillbirth Study, looked at the pregnancies of 295 women from eight hospitals around Australia.
The five-year study found that women who sleep on their backs are six times more likely to have a stillborn baby.
Lead researcher Dr Adrienne Gordon, from Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said previous research had suggested prolonged periods in this position restricted blood flow to the baby.
It’s thought that sleeping on the right side or on the back reduces blood flow through a major vein from the legs to the heart, which affects the supply to the womb.
The researchers added it was important that women who are currently pregnant ‘don’t become alarmed if they sometimes sleep on their back’.
Experts have pointed out previously that three-quarters of pregnant women sleep mostly on the left side – higher than the rate in women who are not pregnant.