Supine Hypotensive Syndrome

Posted by Darian Dozier on Jul 4, 2022 5:56:00 PM

Add a heading-May-01-2022-01-53-58-58-AM

Women late in their pregnancy often have many discomforts in ailments. One of the ways that late-term pregnancy can negatively impact women’s health is by interrupting their sleep. Pregnancy makes sleeping very difficult, which is unfortunate considering how important sleep is for pregnant women. Bladder issues, back pain, and just general discomfort can make sleeping very hard when you are several months pregnant.

It's also common for women to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and as if they are not getting enough blood to their brain when they are lying down as well. This is known as supine hypotensive syndrome, or inferior vena cava syndrome. We are going to talk about what the syndrome is and what you can do to help yourself if you feel like the symptoms describe things that you have felt.

What is supine hypotensive syndrome?

After blood goes through your tissues and delivers oxygen it then enters the venous system. The venous system Returns the blood to your heart and then to your lungs and then back through your heart and the whole cycle starts again. This return of blood to the heart is done by using a very large vein called the inferior vena cava.

The amount of blood that returns to your heart is known as preload. It is essential that you have a minimum amount of preload in order for your heart to pump enough blood through your body to continue normal functioning. Without this amount of preload, you may experience feeling similar to that of being dizzy, nauseous, light headed, and feeling as if you need to faint.

In some cases, decreased preload can lead to actual fainting. Decreased preload can also lead to  shock which is the case for certain types of illnesses or diseases.

When your baby is several months along, it becomes quite heavy. how do you enter the later stages of your pregnancy oh, the baby can lie on your inferior vena cava. When this happens, you have decreased blood returned to your heart. This can lead to feelings of dizziness, and lightheadedness.

Most women experience this at night because they are lying down. This can encourage the need for repositioning throughout the night, which can negatively impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep, as sleeping on your back may be the most comfortable position. 

Does inferior vena cava syndrome hurt the baby?

The short answer is no. The inferior vena cava Drains blood from the lower extremities and returns it to the heart. The uterus and placenta are not affected in this. However many women have been told that sleeping on their back will cut off circulation to their child. This can make it extremely terrifying for women to feel comfortable sleeping on their back as they do not want any interruptions to blood flow to their child. 

This danger is not true. Sleeping on your back can cause you some discomfort, but it poses no health risk to your child. The alarming condition that is mostly referred to in people expressing a concern about back-sleeping is the supine hypotensive syndrome, also known as inferior vena cava syndrome. 

Although it can feel uncomfortable for you, rest assured that your child is not in danger from sleeping on your back. If you still feel uncomfortable, be sure to check in with your doctor and make sure that your child's weight is progressing appropriately, and check to see if there are any other physiological abnormalities that you or your doctor should be concerned about.

What to do if you experience supine hypotensive syndrome?

Supine hypotensive syndrome 10 sounds much more alarming than it actually is. However, resolving the issue is much more simple because it is normally done instinctively. When pregnant women experience dizziness, nausea, or faintness, she will naturally change positions to where she no longer feels those negative symptoms.

Rolling to the side, sitting, or propping up in the chair will increase the blood return to your heart, and increase preload. This will help stretch some of those receptors in the major vessels which will signify that your heart is indeed receiving enough blood. This will send signals to their brains and other reflexes that no further action is necessary.

Pregnancy pillows may also be a great tool to help you get a good night's rest if you are experiencing supine hypotensive syndrome.  If you have any concerns or extreme discomfort then please consult your physician.

If you are concerned about your ability to get a good night's sleep, then please click the orange button below to take our free online sleep test and speak with a sleep health professional at our facility. Sleep is extremely important for pregnant women because they can help keep your blood pressure low, regulate your blood sugar, and also regulate your hormones as they are already in flux due to your pregnant state.

Pregnancy can also help with some of the musculoskeletal issues that can accompany pregnancy and any inflammation that you may be experiencing as well. 

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