New campaign aims to reduce rates of stillbirth with one simple message to pregnant women 4 years ago

New campaign aims to reduce rates of stillbirth with one simple message to pregnant women

Everyone who has ever been pregnant will know just how hard it is to get comfortable at night during those last few weeks. 

Trying to find a position where you can actually sleep feels near impossible, and as luck would have it, the minute you do manage to fall asleep, you wake up again because you have to pee. Again.

But did you know how you should be going to sleep – certainly during the last 12 weeks of your pregnancy?

According to research, going to sleep on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy halves your risk of stillbirth compared with going to sleep on your back. Why? Because 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.

In New Zealand, a new campaign has just been launched urging pregnant women to remember this simple sleeping rule – in an attempt to decrease the rates of late stillbirth nationally.

Each year, in New Zealand, approximately 160 babies are stillborn in the last three months of pregnancy, but the Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign, wants to change those statistics by providing pregnant women with vital information that may reduce the risk of stillbirth in the late stages of pregnancy.



Professor Lesley McCowan, Head of The University of Auckland’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and her team of New Zealand researchers, have been at the forefront of international research looking at risk factors for stillbirth for nearly 10 years.

The conclusion from four studies – two by Professor McCowan in New Zealand, one in Australia and one from the UK – which analysed more than 800 late pregnancy stillbirth cases, reveals a 2.5 to 6-fold increase in the risk of late stillbirth if women go to sleep lying on their back.

Were YOU told this when you were pregnant, mama? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie