Mr Etienne Horner, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, The Portland Hospital
Q. Is it true that you shouldn't sleep on your back during pregnancy?
A. The question of sleeping positions comes up in most of my consultations as women are worried they could harm their baby whilst asleep. This, of course, is not the case as the baby is well embedded in the womb and is floating in a weightless environment without feeling any discomfort in their positions. It is more important that the expectant mother is finding a good position to sleep whilst pregnant, and this will change for most women during pregnancy. In early pregnancy and even until 20-25 weeks gestation, women can comfortably still sleep on the back if this is their best sleeping position. From 20 weeks onwards however, the womb is getting larger and lies against the vena cava, the large vein that carries blood back to the heart. By lying on the back, the return blood flow could be slowed down, and this can lead to dizziness and also possibly to haemorrhoids or varicosis for the mother. After 30 weeks, most women will find lying on the back uncomfortable and choose to sleep on the side. However, if women wake up lying on their backs, this will not affect the baby. Most women find the best position to sleep is on the side supported with various pregnancy pillows. Each woman is different so it is down to the individual to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible at this important time.
For further information or to book an appointment please contact Mr Horner’s secretary.
Tel. 07868 972 920