PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE

Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign


Sleep On Side Campaign

I have been working as Project Coordinator for the ‘Sleep On Side When Baby’s Inside’ campaign.

The ‘Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign’ #sleeponside has rolled out nationwide at the end of June 2018 and advises expectant mums to sleep on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy. The campaign has been developed by the University of Auckland and Ministry of Health, in partnership with child health research charity Cure Kids, following new evidence that has the potential to save lives of approximately 16 unborn babies a year in New Zealand.

Each year, in New Zealand, approximately 160 babies are stillborn in the last three months of pregnancy. It’s estimated that if all pregnant women go to sleep on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy, there would be a 10 percent decrease in late stillbirths nationally. Internationally, this change in sleeping position has the potential to save up to 100,000 babies a year.

Approximately 1 in 20 women in New Zealand go to sleep on their back in the late stages of pregnancy. The Sleep on Side campaign raises awareness of the increased risk of stillbirth for such women and encourages a change in the sleeping position from 28 weeks of pregnancy.

The campaign resources – brochures for pregnant women and health professionals and a social media video, featuring a voiceover by broadcaster Miriama Kamo and music by award-winning musician Claudia Gunn – are simple in their messaging, yet could make a huge difference for Kiwi families. The campaign resources were made available by Tommy’s UK and adapted for the New Zealand campaign.

The advice to pregnant women during the third trimester is to go to sleep on their side for every sleep, including; going to sleep at night, returning to sleep after any night-time awakenings and day-time naps.

Cure Kids has supported the programme of research that has provided the evidence for the ‘Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign’ since 2007, enabling New Zealand researchers to lead the way with these internationally significant findings. 

For more information about Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign visit sleeponside.org.nz or speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician.

SLEEP ON SIDE WHEN BABY’S INSIDE

Sleep On Your Side From 28 Weeks

Research shows that going to sleep on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy halves your risk of stillbirth compared with going to sleep on your back. Lying on your back in the last three months of pregnancy presses on major blood vessels, which can reduce blood flow to the womb and oxygen supply to the baby.

Each year, in New Zealand, approximately 160 babies are stillborn in the last three months of pregnancy. It’s estimated that if all pregnant women go to sleep on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy, there could be a 10 percent decrease in late stillbirth nationally.

The advice to pregnant women during the third trimester is to go to sleep on their side for every sleep, including;

  • going to sleep at night
  • returning to sleep after any night wakenings
  • day-time naps

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I go to sleep on my side?

Lying on your back in the last three months of pregnancy (from 28 weeks) presses on major blood vessels which can reduce blood flow to your womb and oxygen supply to your baby.

Is it best to go to sleep on my left or right side?

You can settle to sleep on either the left or the right side – any side is good from 28 weeks of pregnancy.

But what if I feel more comfortable going to sleep on my back?

Going to sleep on your back is not best for baby after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Most women find side sleeping is more comfortable in pregnancy, especially in the last three months.

What if I wake up on my back?

It’s normal to change position during sleep and many pregnant women wake up on their back. The important thing is to start every sleep (daytime naps and going to bed at night) lying on your side and settle back to sleep on your side if you wake up.

What is the risk of stillbirth if I go to sleep on my back?

Stillbirth in the last three months of pregnancy affects about one in every 500 babies. However, research has confirmed that going to sleep on your side halves your risk of stillbirth compared with sleeping on your back.

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Sleep On Side When Baby’s Inside

Each year, in New Zealand, approximately 160 babies are stillborn in the last three months of pregnancy. It’s estimated that if all pregnant women go to sleep on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy, there could be a 10 percent decrease in late stillbirth nationally.
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