Can a Lack of Sleep Cause Pregnancy Problems?

New research indicates that sleep problems in early and late pregnancy correlate to an increased risk of preterm labor. Sleep quality in both the first and third trimesters seems to be an indicator of how high a risk a woman faces of undergoing premature labor.

Confounding Effects

It’s unlikely that the increased risk of preterm labor is actually related only to sleep. Rather, women who get less sleep are probably more likely to undergo more stress and potentially more health or mental health concerns. Sleep quality can easily be assessed through a few simple questions at prenatal visits. That means that though it’s hard to pin down confounding causes, the knowledge that sleep is tied to preterm labor risk could have significant effects on chances at healthy, full-term pregnancy.

The Second Trimester

Apparently, sleep quality in the second trimester has no correlation with instance of preterm labor. It’s thought that sleep may improve slightly in mid-pregnancy due to hormonal shifts, but there’s little scientific data to back up this conjecture.

Is Inflammation the Cause?

Poor sleep has been known to increase inflammation in the body—this is one mechanism through which fibromyalgia pain is thought to occur. The same symptom may be responsible for triggering preterm labor in women who aren’t getting enough quality sleep.

Can Sleep Make a Difference?

It’s important to understand that just because you didn’t get enough shuteye in the first trimester doesn’t mean you’re locked into dealing with preterm labor. The study suggests that improving sleep quality can minimize the chances of dealing with premature onset of labor. Resolve now to take better care of yourself, and you’ll be giving your child the best chance at a healthy start in life.

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Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist