Abuja – A gynaecologist, Dr Nathaniel Adewole, has warned that sleeping on the back side of the body at advanced stage of pregnancy could predispose a baby to brain problem.
Adewole, of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that the problem could occur due to the weight of the uterus.
He said that such sleeping positioning by the pregnant mother would make the baby to rest against the big vesicles called inferior vena cava, which supplies blood to the heart.
The inferior vena cava is the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium of the heart.
According to him, at the early stage of pregnancy, sleeping position constitutes no much problem; a woman can take any sleeping position that is convenient.
“ However, when the pregnancy becomes advanced, the uterus becomes bigger; the weight of the baby and the uterus become big.
“At this stage, if the woman lies at the back, the great vesicles called the inferior vena cava are altered; they are directly behind.
“What this means is that the weight of the uterus and the baby will press directly on those big vesicles that take blood to the heart and take blood away from the heart.
“Therefore, if this happened, the one that is first affected is the one that takes blood to the heart; so, the quantity of blood available to the heart is reduced,’’ the physician said.
Adewole said that the blood that pumps out would be reduced because the blood flow that was available to the heart had been reduced.
He said this would also reduce the blood supply to the parts of the body of the woman and in turn reduce that of the baby.
“ When the babies already have problem, what we call intrauterine placenta compromise, it can lead to brain problem for the baby.
“Sleeping with the right or the left side of the body, as the pregnancy progresses, is preferable, but at the last three months, sleeping position is better at the left side.
“Also, one must take note that even during labour, it is not advisable for the woman to lie down with the back too.
“This is because the big uterus containing the baby will press on those vesicles thereby the turn of blood to the heart is reduced,’’ Adewole said.
He said that it was not advisable to sleep on the right because at the last stage and in labour, because the vesicle is more to the right of the side of the back.
“So, if you lie by the right side, it might not be as heavy as you lie at the back, but that tendency is still there; that is why the left is preferable.’’
Adewole said that when the weight of the uterus and the baby pressed on the vesicles, the blood available for both the woman and the baby would also be reduced.
He said that such blood reduction could cause severe problem in some women, hence, it was not advisable to lie down with the back at the advanced stage of pregnancy.