Supine position

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A man lying in the supine position

The supine position (/səˈpn/ or /ˈspn/) is a position of the body: lying with the face up, as opposed to the prone position, which is face down, sometimes with the hands behind the head or neck. When used in surgical procedures, it allows access to the peritoneal, thoracic and pericardial regions; as well as the head, neck and extremities.[1]

Using anatomical terms of location, the dorsal side is down, and the ventral side is up, when supine.

Supine position and prone position


In scientific literature "semi-supine" commonly refers to positions where the upper body is tilted (at 45° or variations) and not horizontal.[2] In the Alexander technique semi-supine position, the knees are raised bent upward while the soles of the feet and the upper body remain in contact with the horizontal surface. This position is also known as "constructive rest", or "the balanced resting state".

Relation to sudden infant death syndrome[edit]

The decline in death due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is said to be attributable to having babies sleep in the supine position. It is believed that in the prone position babies are more at risk to re-breathe their own carbon dioxide. Because of the immature state of their central chemoreceptors, infants do not respond to the subsequent respiratory acidosis that develops.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rothrock, J. C. (2007) Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery 13th Ed. Mobsy Elsevier: St Louis, Missouri. p. 148.
  2. ^ Petropoulou, E; Lancellotti, P; Piérard, LA (2006). "Quantitative analysis of semi-supine exercise echocardiography--influence of age on myocardial Doppler imaging indices". Acta cardiologica 61 (3): 271–7. PMID 16869446. 

External links[edit]