If you’ve ever woken up in the morning to stiffness in a particular side you would probably arrive at the conclusion that you had spent much of that night lying in that position. That discomfort may have arisen from the weight of your body pressed against that side for a prolonged period.
An incorrect – or to be more specific – uncomfortable sleeping position can raise your blood pressure through the night and consequently bring along some of the other risks associated with raised blood pressure if repeated for a prolonged period.
If the pressure of your own body pressed against your side in a night causes that level of discomfort in the morning, imagine what would happen if you were a pregnant woman bearing the weight of a baby?
We have already examined in the previous post how common themes around daily life such as diet, exercise, medicine and mental health are often researched and investigated and thoroughly mined for slants and angles as part of a media strategy of generating column inches from pre-existing information and common knowledge.
So it is no surprise, hence, to see yet another article in the media dispensing advice on sleep.
The Mail Online advises women not to sleep on your back in the last trimester as it could cause stillbirth. Backed of course, by experts.
Remember the line of thinking mentioned in the previous post?
A shark is a fish. A whale is a fish. With time, sharks can become whales, according to experts.
This is how the media works.
The Mail Online seems to have done exactly that. Perhaps sensationalising the headline first, then teasing the reader along the way by purporting to reveal the organisation and result of a blitz of information at the end. Except that after reading the article, you’ve probably thought it flowed well, but didn’t really reveal any insight.
The study – who financed it? – examined the sleep positions of twenty-nine women in their final trimester and the effects these had on their baby’s behaviour.
The overall result was that all babies were born healthy. On that basis there was no significant impact on sleeping positions on baby development. Remember the attention grabbing headline? It seemingly amounted to nothing in the end.
The tenuous link used in the research was that when women slept on their right side, babies were slightly more likely to be active and awake, and if mothers slept on their backs, babies were more likely to be quietly asleep.
The research was carried out by researchers in New Zealand and involved placing ECG monitors on mothers in the third trimester.
Despite the non-entity of significant results, sleeping on your back for a pregnant mother may compress major blood vessels and this may change the baby’s heart rate.
But don’t role out the possibility that in years to come, the media may use this piece of research to bulk up an article fronted by the headline “Sleeping on your back gives you calmer babies”, using the tenuous link that the blood flow and pressure of stressed, tense pregnant women to the baby was reduced when they slept on their backs.
There are 7 billion in this planet and using a study sample size of twenty nine women is also ridiculously small. If 1 of those women had experienced complications then the headline might have been “3% of all foetuses at risk”!
Just sleep in a comfortable position. And get lots of sleep. And go see your GP for advice instead of seeking health advice from a newspaper.
You know how media spin works.