Undisturbed Maternal Sleep Tied to Higher Risk for Late Stillbirth

Maternal sleep patterns have been overlooked as indicators of maternal, newborn health

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Long periods of undisturbed sleep during pregnancy are associated with late stillbirth, according to a study published online Jan. 18 in Birth.

Louise M. O'Brien Ph.D., from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed postpartum women who either had a stillbirth at ≥28 weeks of gestation within 30 days before completing the survey (153 women) or delivered a live born child within 30 days of completing the survey (480 women).

The researchers found that sleeping more than nine hours per night in the previous month was associated with stillbirth (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.75; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 2.79), as were waking up on the right side (aOR, 2.27; 95 percent CI, 1.31 to 3.92) and nonrestless sleep in the previous month (aOR, 1.73; 95 percent CI, 1.03 to 2.99). Good sleep quality in the last month approached significance in its association with stillbirth (aOR, 1.64; 95 percent CI, 0.98 to 2.75). Not waking more than one time on the last night of pregnancy was associated with stillbirth (aOR, 2.03; 95 percent CI, 1.24 to 3.34). No relationship was observed between a woman's position when going to sleep during pregnancy and stillbirth.

"Maternal sleep has been overlooked as a potential area for maternal and newborn health interventions even though it is related to many of the major, well-established risk factors for poor pregnancy outcomes," O'Brien said in a statement. "Until recently, it hasn't been on the radar for stillbirth research."

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