Poor Sleep Quality in Early Pregnancy Tied to Preterm Birth

Effect on preterm birth is largest in early pregnancy, more modest in later pregnancy

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Poor sleep quality in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, with the largest effect seen in early pregnancy, according to a study published in the November issue of SLEEP.

Michele L. Okun, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues investigated whether sleep quality during pregnancy was a clinically relevant risk factor for preterm birth. A total of 166 pregnant women with a mean age of 28.6 years, were administered self-report questionnaires, including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) at 14 to 16, 24 to 26, and 30 to 36 weeks of gestation. The association between sleep quality and preterm delivery was examined using logistic regression models.

The investigators found that poor sleep quality significantly predicted preterm birth. The largest effect was seen in early pregnancy (14 to 16 weeks: odds ratio [OR], 1.25; P = 0.02), and a smaller effect was seen in later pregnancy (30 to 32 weeks: OR, 1.18; P = 0.07). The odds of preterm birth were found to increase by 25 percent in early pregnancy and 18 percent in later pregnancy with every one-point increase on the PSQI.

"Poor sleep quality, in both early and late pregnancy, is associated with an increased risk of delivering preterm. We suggest that poor sleep may contribute to increased risk for preterm birth both independently, as well as in conjunction with other established risk factors, such as stress," the authors write.

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