Dietary monounsaturated fat intake may be protective for sleep during pregnancy

Christie Bennett, Sean Cain, Michelle Blumfield

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background/Aims: Short and poor quality sleep are associated with an increase in unhealthful eating behaviours. This is marked by a decrease in dietary restraint and an increased preference for foods high in fat and refined carbohydrates. Poor quality carbohydrate and high fat intake in pregnancy has been associated with high gestational weight gain, reduced insulin sensitivity and higher foetal adiposity. Further, sleep disturbances are common in pregnancy. However, it is unknown whether there is a relationship between sleeping behaviour and dietary intake in pregnancy. This study aimed to investigate the relationships between sleeping behaviour and macronutrient intake of pregnant women.

Method: Data are from pregnant women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, aged 31-36 in 2009 (n=437). Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to derive sleeping behaviour patterns from self-reported sleep data. Diet was assessed using a validated 74-item food frequency questionnaire. Relationships between sleep and diet were investigated through multivariate linear models adjusted for area of residence, BMI, depression, difficulty managing on income, education level and parity.

Results: LCA identified three sleeping behaviour patterns: (LC1) average sleep (~7.8 hours) with no adverse sleep-related symptoms (n=167); (LC2) average sleep (~8.3 hours) with severe tiredness and sleep difficulties (n=193); and (LC3) short sleep (~6.6 hours) with severe tiredness and sleep difficulties (n=97). In adjusted models, LC2 was associated with a lower percentage energy (%E) from total fat (b= -0.032, p=0.039) and %E from monounsaturated fat (b= -0.050, p=0.005), but a higher %E from carbohydrate (b= 0.031, p=0.020), compared to LC1. No differences were found between LC1 and LC3.

Conclusions: Higher monounsaturated fat intake is associated with improved sleep quality during pregnancy, which may help improve health and wellbeing of mother and child. Further research is needed to understand the directional nature of this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventDOHaD 2019: Investing in a Healthy Future for All: Research, Education, Policy - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Wharf, Australia
Duration: 20 Oct 201923 Oct 2019
Conference number: 11th


ConferenceDOHaD 2019
Abbreviated titleDOHaD 2019
CitySouth Wharf
Internet address

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