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Sleeping for Two

Pregnancy News Flash
-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator

University of California, San Francisco, researchers recently put a numerical value on the importance of sleep during pregnancy. They found that women in late pregnancy who sleep less have longer labors, compared to those who sleep more. In the study, pregnant women who got less than 6 hours of sleep nightly spent an average of 29 hours in labor, compared to moms-to-be who got 7 or more hours of shut-eye and only labored for 17.5 hours on average. Moreover, the moms who slept the least (less than 6 hours) were also 4.5 times more likely to have a cesarean delivery.

BabyFit Tip: Disrupted sleep is a common complaint among pregnant women. If you experience sleep disturbances several nights a week, discuss your concern with your health care provider. To ensure you're getting plenty of sleep, spend more time in bed. Study participants who spent the least amount of time in bed (going to bed later, etc.) slept less, likely because they limited their sleeping opportunities. Take advantage of naps, early bedtimes, and other lifestyle factors that will help you sleep more soundly, including exercise and relaxation techniques.

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Member Comments About this Article
"For those wanting the original study referenced, I think I found the correct study: "Sleep in late pregnancy predicts length of labor and type of delivery", Kathryn A. Lee, Caryl L. Gay, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 191, Issue 6 , Pages 2041-2046, December 2004.

Location: Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.
"I'm 26 wks pregnant and I have to say I've been sleep deprived for almost a month. I just can't sleep, I've spoken to my obgyn, but she suggested I was stressed or possibly worried about something. At the time we were moving and paperwork transfers military relocation was a headache, but nothing has gone back to normal ;/ I'm worried now...just hoping its just a normal phase...anything for my I can't believe how awesome my hubby and the dogs sleep at night, wish I could enjoy my sleep ..." -- CJBF86
"I just gave birth to my second daughter. I worried a bit about being too tired to labour efficiently because I was also chasing after a 2 year old and suffering from insomnia through my entire pregnancy. However, I ended up having an excellent drug-free birth with only 3 & 1/2 hours of labour so I wouldn't get to caught up in the stats reported in this article." -- M1NN1EMOUSE
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About The Author
Nicole Nichols
Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in health promotion and education, specializing in exercise and fitness, from the University of Cincinnati. She maintains several fitness certifications, including prenatal and postpartum exercise design.
Nicole Nichols


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