Too Little Or Too Much Sleep In Early Pregnancy May Raise Preeclampsia Risk

A recent study concluded that getting too little or too much sleep during the first trimester of pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk of developing elevated blood pressure and its related complications in later pregnancy. Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure is a symptom of preeclampsia. Left untreated, preeclampsia increases a woman’s risk for life-threatening eclampsia during pregnancy.

The study included reports from over 1,200 pregnant women. Women who got less than five hours of sleep per night were almost 10 times more likely to develop preeclampsia. 

The study points to the importance of good sleep hygiene during pregnancy. Be careful about how much weight is gained, as some pregnant women develop sleep apnea. Exercise also is known to promote sleep quality, as does cutting back on caffeine. Avoid reading scary pregnancy or childbirth stories before bedtime. Instead, do something relaxing and not stressful just before retiring for the evening.

Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Arizona, mentioned the importance of maintaining a supportive mattress set during pregnancy. Consider getting a topper or a plusher product if you develop pressure points and localized ischemia. Above all, notify your obstetrician if you’re having problems with sleep.