Curious Fu

Mind Body Visualization Programs for Pregnant Women

Does sleeping on your left hand side really reduce the chance of stillbirth?

Stillbirth is a topic that pregnant women don’t want to think about and everyone hopes that it isn’t them but the latest research from the The Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS) published today has the startling statistic of 1 in 255 babies in the UK are stillborn. That equates to approximately 9 babies a day in the UK and with rates like that we HAVE to talk about it.

This is a global issue, the rate in Australia is 1 in 100 babies, in the US this is one in 160 which is just devestating for all the families involved.

The term “stillborn baby” refers to a baby dies at any point over 24 weeks of the pregnancy (though it is calculated differently in different countries).

There are a few known reasons for babies to be stillborn though it’s not always possible to identify exactly why a particular baby has not survived. Some of these reasons can be that the placenta has started to calcify (which could be because it’s over the due date), high blood pressure leading to preeclampsia or that there has been a birth defect.

Sometimes the factors can cause a stillbirth are completely out of our control but there is one really simple thing you can do that significantly reduces the risk...

The research out today suggests that the position a pregnant mum sleeps in the third trimester (after 27 weeks) is vitally important.

By lying on the left hand side to go to sleep you can significantly reduce the risk of a stillborn.


There is a simple reason for this - you have a large artery that runs down the right hand side that feeds the baby nutrients, so keeping off the right hand side allows the baby to grow and develop. The liver is also on the right so making sure it can filter the blood and help the other organs to digest and process food. So trying as much as you can to stay on your left is a great way to help your baby grow and thrive.

The question most people ask is  “what happens if i can’t stay on my side while asleep?”  or “what if i wake up on my back?” The answer is don’t panic as it’s ok once you are off to sleep. to be in any position. The advice is just to start off on your left as that’s the position you will stay in the longest during the night.

If you wake in the night and notice that you’re on your back then simply roll back onto your side. It’s the same advice if you’re having a nap.

If for some reason you need to lie on your back simply roll up a towel and place it under your right hip to keep you off-centre - though it’s not advised to stay like this for long periods of time.

You can use pillows like the Sangol maternity pillow or something similar to make yourself more comfortable (pic in blog folder) as it will cuddle you and make it harder for you to turn. Also having the pillow go under your bump will help make sure that your hips are more comfortable during the night.

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Hopefully by sleeping on your side it will go in some way to make sure your pregnancy and delivery is safe and well.

If you or someone in your family has been affected by stillbirth you can contact Tommys in the UK or the Stillbirth Foundation in Australia for help and support.

 

 

 

The Sleep Session

Over the coming weeks I will be writing about each of the sessions that we have on the Curious Fu pregnancy app.

I’m often asked why I have done or said certain things so I thought it would help if you read about the sessions on the blog.

The sleep sessions - unlike any other app - are tailored to each of your three trimesters to help you to visualise the growth and development of the baby as your pregnancy progresses.

Sleep can be challenging at the best of times for many people, and some mothers-to-be find sleep even more elusive during pregnancy. It goes without saying how important getting some sleep is, and to help I have distilled the latest scientific research into a relaxing track.

My goal for the sleep track is more than to help you sleep - ideally I would like you to feel a growing sense of connection with your baby, and to feel better during your day. Sleep will help with those things, but I also hope the session will help you develop a positive mindset.

Learn to make a habit, a ritual of winding down at night to get ready for sleep and make it the time to let go of the events of the day. One of the best ways to do that is by thinking about what you are grateful for.

Gratefulness has been extensively researched and shown to have multiple benefits. It boosts your immune system, it helps you have more positive thoughts during your day and it not only helps you get to sleep faster, it helps you stay asleep longer and wake more refreshed.

The act of thinking of things that you’re grateful for helps you to stop the negative loops that can sometimes go around in your head and help you to see good that has happened. Sometimes on bad days it can be a hard thing to do, but if you look for it you will find it, even if it’s someone opening a door or a smile from a stranger, the good will be there somewhere.

After the sleep session has gotten you into a nicely relaxed state by helping you focus on what you are grateful for, what better time to try to form a real bond with your baby?

Take the time to say hello, and enjoy the more positive headspace you are now hopefully occupying. Think about how these special moments can be an antidote to the stress and busyness of your days.

As you move through the trimesters and your baby grows you will notice them move when you talk to them, hopefully helping you to really connect with them.

Another goal of the sleep session is to help you practice your breathing. Breathing is something so natural we take it for granted and rarely notice the impact it can have upon our mood and how we feel. The more in-touch you are with your breath, the more you will be able to control it and this will hopefully lead to good outcomes for you.

The breathing pattern in the session - a shorter breath in, and a longer breath out - has also been examined and validated by scientists as having many positive benefits

So, putting it all together, I really hope the sleep sessions will help you sleep well through your pregnancy and help you feel all the better for it! Goodnight xx

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