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Effects of supine position during pregnancy on the fetal heart rate

1 May 1994


Many health care providers, as well as pregnant women, believe it is not safe to assume the supine position during pregnancy due to potential harmful effects to the fetus. This study was undertaken to determine a safe time frame pregnant women can remain in the supine position during their third trimester without significant fetal heart rate. changes. The fetal heart rate (FHR) and maternal blood pressure of fifteen pregnant women (N = 15) in their third trimester was monitored for ten minutes in the side-lying position and twenty minutes in the supine. Data was analyzed using ANOVA. The results indicate no statistically or clinically significant differences between the two positions on the FHR over time. Based on the results of this study it is safe for most women to lie on their backs for up to twenty minutes during their third trimester of pregnancy, without detrimental effects to the fetus.


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