Modifying maternal sleep position in late pregnancy through positional therapy: A feasibility study

Jane Warland, Jillian Dorrian, Allan J. Kember, Craig Phillips, Ali Borazjani, Janna L. Morrison, Louise M. O’Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To test whether a customized positional therapy device, PrenaBelt, would reduce time spent sleeping supine and evaluate any change in maternal or fetal parameters, in a group of healthy pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy. Methods: Participants underwent an in-home, overnight sleep study during late pregnancy (32–38 weeks). Participants were observed over 2 nights: 1 night when the PrenaBelt was not worn (nonintervention or control) and 1 night when it was (intervention). The intervention night was randomly allocated, and the study nights were consecutive. On the control night, participants were filmed using a night-capable (infrared) video camera, maternal sleep was measured by the Watch-PAT200, and the fetus was continuously monitored using the Monica AN24. On the intervention night, video, maternal, and fetal monitoring were repeated with the addition of the mother wearing the PrenaBelt. Results: A total of 25 healthy pregnant women were studied. Four had missing data for the Watch-PAT or Monica, and eight had missing or disrupted video data. Video-determined time in bed was not significantly different during intervention and control nights (P = .196, r = −.23). Median time spent supine during the intervention night was reduced from 48.3 minutes, to 28.5 minutes during the control night (P = .064, r = −.33). The difference in the proportion of time spent supine was significant (P = .039). There was no significant difference in objectively estimated sleep time (P = .651, r = −.07). Improvement was observed in both maternal and fetal parameters during the intervention night with an increase in median minimum maternal oxygen saturations (control = 91.6%, intervention = 92.4%, P = .006, r = −.42), fewer maternal oxygen desaturations (control = 7.1, intervention = 5.9, P = .095, r = −.26), and fewer fetal heart rate decelerations (control = 14.0, intervention = 10.4, P = .045, r = −.31) compared to the control night. Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence that an intervention to reduce supine sleep in late pregnancy may provide maternal and fetal health benefits, with minimal effect on maternal perception of sleep quality and objectively estimated sleep time. Further research to explore relationships between objectively determined maternal sleep position, maternal respiratory indices, and fetal well-being is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1397
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Positional therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep position
  • Stillbirth


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