[Sleeping position for preterm infants]

Z Geburtshilfe Neonatol. 2008 Feb;212(1):27-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1004610.
[Article in German]


Supine sleeping is recommended to prevent the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Low birth weight infants are at increased risk for SIDS, which is increased further if they are placed prone. Prone sleeping, however, also has advantages for preterm infants, such as a reduced apnoea rate, an increased lung volume and more quiet sleep. In their first weeks of life, these infants are usually on a monitor and under continuous observation. SIDS is extremely unlikely under these circumstances. Because of the aforementioned advantages, these infants may be placed prone during their first few weeks of life in the hospital. One week before discharge, however, they should be changed to back sleeping and the parents be explained that their baby is now nearing discharge and should thus be placed as it should also sleep at home: on its back and in a sleeping sack. We do not prescribe home monitors for SIDS prevention, but occasionally use pulse oximeters at home for a few weeks if an infant continues to exhibit apnoea of prematurity.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Posture*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Sleep*
  • Sudden Infant Death / diagnosis*
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control*