Nigerian medical doctors warn pregnant women against sleeping on their backs


Many hospitals in Nigeria and around the world have recorded high number of still birth in the recent time. As a result, Women are being advised to sleep on their sides in the last three months of their pregnancy to help prevent still birth.

A research on the case confirmed that it is highly risky for women to sleep on their backs. A study of just over 1,000 women found the risk doubles if women go to sleep on their backs in the third trimester. However, the study looked into 291 pregnancies that ended in stillbirth and 735 women who had a live birth.

A medical practitioner stated:
“When you lie belly-up, the weight of your uterus can compress a major blood vessel, called the vena cava, disrupting blood flow to your baby and leaving you nauseated, dizzy, and short of breath. The best way to sleep during the second half of pregnancy is on your side.”

Speaking with a Nigerian medical doctor, Dr. Qudus Musbau Olayiwola, he explained that it’s a risk for women to sleep on their back, most especially when the pregnancy is getting older:
” Depending on the age of the pregnancy, first trimester, no problem but from 28weeks and above, yes, it’s a risk factor for still birth.”

In addition, it has been advised that pregnant women should stop sleeping on your stomach or back by around 20 weeks of pregnancy. The concern with sleeping on the back is that the enlarging uterus can compress the large veins in the back of the woman’s abdomen, which can in turn decrease the amount of blood returning to her heart. As a result, her blood pressure can drop, and she may feel lightheaded or nauseated. However, if the blood pressure drops, the blood flow to the uterus and baby may decrease. So, in general, after 20 weeks it is recommended to sleep on the side in order not to experience still birth.

To confirm this, another Nigerian doctor, Dr. Sodik Salawu also recommends sleeping by the sides to reduce the risk of loosing the baby:
“Pregnant women should sleep on the side. It is better to sleep on the side. It may be a risk to the pregnancy if the woman continues to sleep on the back.”

Some experienced mothers who have lost their babies also explained that sleeping on the back might be one of the reasons for their lost. Nigerian medical practitioners have advised pregnant women to desist from sleeping on the back to avoid loosing their babies. The best position to sleep during pregnancy is on the side.

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