EGA Institute for Women's Health


Sleeping on your back in pregnancy could increase the risk of stillbirth

1 February 2021

A new MRI algorithm developed at UCL provides novel insight about placental blood flow in late pregnancy and stillbirth risk

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A recent study co-led by UCL IfWH, the joint UCL/Kings College London GIFT-Surg project and the University of Auckland used a newly developed MRI algorithm to find out why women who go to sleep on their back in late pregnancy are more likely to have still births.

The paper published in the Journal of Physiology showed reductions in blood and placental oxygenation for women lying on their backs compared to lying on their side.  On average, blood flow to the uterus decreased by 23.7% and oxygen movement through the placenta fell by 6.2%.