Sleeping behaviour during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse birth and postpartum outcomes

Christie Bennett, Sean Cain, Michelle Blumfield

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background/Aims: Sleep disturbance is common during pregnancy and can influence the health of both mother and offspring. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of maternal sleeping behaviour during pregnancy on antenatal, birth and postnatal outcomes including: gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, delivery mode, birth complications, anaesthesia use, NICU/SCN admission, infant birth weight, breastfeeding, antenatal mental health and postnatal mental health, in an Australian sample. Method: Data are from pregnant women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health cohort, aged 31-36 in 2009 with birth outcomes reported in 2012 (n=473). Sleep, pregnancy, birth and postpartum outcomes were self-reported. Latent class analysis (LCA) derived sleeping behaviour patterns. Relationships between sleep and pregnancy, birth and postpartum outcomes were investigated through multivariate linear regression adjusted for BMI, self-rated health, difficulty managing on income, depression, trimester and area of residence. Results: Three sleeping behaviour patterns were identified: (LC1) average sleep length (~7.8 hours) with good sleep quality (n=181); (LC2) average sleep length (~8.3 hours) with daytime tiredness, difficulty falling asleep and restless sleep (n=183); and (LC3) short sleep length (~6.6 hours) with daytime tiredness, difficulty falling asleep and restless sleep (n=109). In models adjusted for confounders, LC2 was associated with a greater likelihood of emotional distress during delivery (OR: 4.402, p<0.001), need for an emergency C-section (OR: 2.680, p=0.022), NICU admission (OR: 2.143, p=0.039), epidural use (OR: 1.859, p=0.014) and postnatal anxiety (OR: 3.915, p=0.010), compared to LC1. No relationships were found between LC3 and LC1. Conclusions: Poorer sleep quality during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of adverse birth and post-partum outcomes. Sleeping patterns may be modifiable and are an important consideration for screening tools and intervention studies that aim to improve the health of future generations.
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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