The current literature suggests that nighttime sleep is compromised during late pregnancy and early postpartum periods, but little is known about the 24-hour sleep pattern during this time. This study aims to first, explore the day-to-day changes in the quantity and quality of objectively measured sleep during the week immediately before and after the day of delivery, and second, to provide descriptive data on timing of naps during late pregnancy and the first week postpartum. Twenty-four healthy women completed one week of actigraphy assessment during the third trimester, and six days before and after delivery. Demographic and obstetric information was collected via questionnaires. Nighttime sleep was significantly disrupted and shortened immediately after giving birth, while napping behavior significantly increased. Total sleep time across 24hours, however, remained stable due to increased napping behaviors. Across the first postpartum week, nighttime sleep improved linearly, with its quantity, but not quality, comparable to that of the third trimester on the sixth postpartum day. Napping behavior decreased linearly during the first postpartum week, although participants continued to take more naps on the sixth postpartum day than during the third trimester. During antenatal periods, naps were most likely to occur during early afternoon, while during the first postpartum week, naps were evenly distributed across late morning to early evening. These findings suggest that sleep is redistributed across 24-hour periods during immediate postpartum, and this redistribution raises questions on the restorative value of sleep women obtain after giving birth.
Bei, B., Coo Calcagni, S., Milgrom, J., & Trinder, J. A. (2012). Day-to-day alteration of 24-hour sleep pattern immediately before and after giving birth. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 10(3), 212 - 221. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2012.00563.x