Supine Position: Definition, Explanation, Pros, and Cons

What is a Supine Position?

A person is in the supine position when he/she is lying straight on the back such that the front position of the body and the face are upwards. In other words, while the dorsal side of the body faces downwards, the ventral is side facing up.

Supine position

The supine position is generally recommended in the following cases:

  • A patient who has recently undergone an abdominal procedure may be prescribed to lie down in this position in order to facilitate the relaxation of the muscles located in the abdominal area.
  • A person who has been through a lumbar puncture is also made to lie in the supine position as it helps the body to re-establish the normal blood circulation. Also, the disturbance of cerebral pressure after lumbar pressure might lead to a severe head ache. Lying in this posture helps the body to combat head ache.
  • It is also prescribed for the children undergoing craniospinal irradiation, in order to avoid the risks associated with the anesthesia (1).
  • It is generally preferred for surgical procedures as it exposes the peritoneal region, thoracic regions, and the pericardial area of the body. It also allows the surgeon to have an easy access to the head, neck, and the extreme ends of the patient’s body.
  • The supine position helps to decrease the rate of sudden infant death syndrome. It is because lying in the prone position causes the infants to breathe in the carbon dioxide given off by themselves.

Supine Pressure Points

Disadvantages of Supine Position

However, there some disadvantages as well, which are associated with the supine position. They can be summarized as follows:

    • Since the body is flat in this position, it loses its efficiency to regulate normal venous return. Due to this, the heart has to put in extra efforts.
    • Laying in supine position poses great difficulties for the patients who rely on toilet aids for defecating and urinating. This may further cause constipation or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI.)
    • The supine position does not provide enough scope for the chest expansion. Due to this, the complete inflation of lungs is restricted. This causes the lungs to get congested due to the collection of secretion.
    • The person may face difficulties in carrying out routine tasks and even experiences a poor vision.
    • The patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are discouraged to lie in the supine position. It is because supine position causes problems in breathing. (2)

Further Resources:

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