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Good sleep in early pregnancy linked to healthy birth

Pregnant women who don’t sleep well in their first and second trimester found to be at more risk of high blood pressure and birth complications

Posted: 1 October 2010
by Kimberley Smith
Pregnant woman sleeping
Try to get your 40 winks

Mums-to-be who get plenty of sleep in the early stages of pregnancy, have a lower risk of pre-eclampsia, finds a new survey.

The study looked at the sleep patterns of 1,172 healthy pregnant women at 14 weeks. Just over half (55.2%) of the mums-to-be slept for around seven or eight hours a night. Just 20.5% slept for nine hours, which was the amount of time researchers considered normal. And while 10.6% were lucky enough to stay in bed for 10 hours or more, 13.7% struggled to sleep, averaging six hours or less per might.

The mums-to-be then had their blood pressure tested in the third trimester. After making adjustments for age, race and pre-pregnancy health and weight, the average blood pressure was higher for short sleepers. For those who struggled to catch even five hours a night, the risk of developing pre-eclampsia was 10 times higher.

Professor Michelle Williams, who led the study in Washington, hopes the findings will help promote lifestyle changes in pregnancy.

“If our results are confirmed by other studies, the finding may motivate improved sleep habits, to lower pre-eclampsia risk,” Professor Michelle said.

If you’re having trouble sleeping check out our guide to getting comfortable when you’re pregnant. Concerned about pre-eclampsia? Find out how to recognise the symptoms and when to worry.

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