A study of 450 women from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, asked women about which positions they slept in at night. The group who slept on their left side in the later stages of pregnancy had a slightly lower chance of having a stillborn baby, 1.96 per 1,000 births. The incidents increased slightly to 3.93 per 1,000 births for those who slept on their right side, or on their backs, in late pregnancy.
Doctors reassure women
But doctors are keen to point out that the risks recorded were still small, and this study was not wide enough to be conclusive. But it does support antenatal advice commonly given to pregnant women that sleeping on the left increases blood flow to the baby. Frequent trips to the loo during the night were also reported by the group who went on to have healthy babies.
Prima Babys GP Dr Rob Hicks says; "This research may worry pregnant women but its important to note that at this stage the research is not conclusive. Further research is needed to determine whether this is actually a chance finding or whether sleeping on the left side should be recommended."
Having read this research, pregnant women may decide to try sleeping on their left side, but should not unduly worry if they wake up and find themselves on their right side.
Having trouble sleeping while pregnant? Read our guide to beating pregnancy insomnia.
Need to speak to an expert? Call the Greatvine midwife, Nikki Khan for one-to-one advice. Telephone: 0906 194 9922(£1.50/min).