“settle to sleep on your side to improve blood flow to the placenta and the baby”
I’m concerned because we actually don’t know why settling to sleep on your side reduces risk of stillbirth BUT we have no evidence whatsoever that side sleep improves blood flow to the baby.
The evidence we do have is that settling to sleep on your side reduces your risk of stillbirth, and that when SOME women lie on their back SOME babies response seems to indicate that blood flow might be reduced in SOME cases.
Further, talking about “improvement” suggests that side sleep inherently makes blood flow better. Making one ask the inevitable question “better than what?” The answer I guess is “better than being on your back” but actually that’s a bit of a logic leap because while we know that settling to sleep on your back probably reduces blood flow, settling to sleep on your side doesn’t actually improve flow… it just doesn’t reduce flow.
Let me draw an analogy with the infant safe sleep campaign to make my point. We don’t know why settling a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk of SIDS we only know that it does. When this was first discovered LOTS of theories abounded as to why it might be the case but ALL the public awareness campaigns simply said “Put your baby on their back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS” imagine if instead of giving the real reason some organisation was scared of using SIDS in their messaging and so instead said something like “put your baby on their back to sleep to improve air flow to the baby’s nostrils.” That messaging would be less effective for two good reasons:
1. People would have to know that reducing air flow to your baby's nostrils MIGHT lead them to being at risk of SIDS AND
2. more importantly in order to provoke behavioral change it's best to always give the real reason , not the sugar coated possible reason,
So can we stop beating about the bush and just call a spade a spade and all just go with the same, simple, factual and correct message “Settle to sleep on your side from 28 weeks to reduce your risk of stillbirth”