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Public Service, Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Lie on your side

Lie on your side when resting, napping or sleeping, especially from 28 weeks of pregnancy, to make sure your baby is getting plenty of oxygen.


Sleeping on your side after 28 weeks of pregnancy halves your risk of having a stillbirth. This is because when you sleep on your back, the weight of your baby puts pressure on large blood vessels that transport blood around your body and to your baby. This pressure can restrict blood flow and oxygen supply to your baby.

If you lie on either your left or right side while you sleep, you are making sure that your baby is getting plenty of oxygen.

What if I wake up on my back?

Changing positions during sleep is normal and unavoidable. The most important thing is to start your sleep on your side and return to your side if you wake up on your back. This way you make sure that you are on your side for as much of your sleep as possible.

Remember this is the advice for mum when pregnant.  Once baby is born, baby should sleep on their back in their own baby bed (e.g. wahakura, moses basket or pepi-pod) in the same room as you.

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This page was last updated at 12:27PM on June 24, 2021.