Pregnant women who sleep on their back increase the risk of having a stillbirth, according to a new study released Wednesday.
The sleeping position has been linked to low birth weight in newborns, which seemed to increase infant mortality, according to the research carried out in Ghana, Africa.
The University of Michigan carried out the research on 1,000 African women, but a study carried out in New Zealand also suggests that sleeping on the back increases stillbirth risks in more developed countries.
Louise O'Brien, of the University of Michigan, said: "If maternal sleep position does play a role in stillbirth, encouraging pregnant women everywhere not to sleep on their back is a simple approach that may improve pregnancy outcomes.”
Researchers found that sleeping on the back increased uterine pressure, leading in some cases to reduced cardiac output and stillbirth.