Future moms have a lot on the list of things they should not do for the sake of their baby’s health, but could it be that sleeping too much is a new thing on that list? Pregnant women tend to get tired quickly, but some new data suggest that sleeping longer than the average 7 or 8 hours, without any disruption, can lead to stillbirth.
Since pregnancy is such a delicate phase, and there are a lot of things that are still unknown, the University of Michigan conducted an international study which gathered the experiences of 153 women who went through late stillbirth and 480 women who were in their third trimester. Their results were published in Birth magazine, and show that there could be a connection between long, undisturbed sleep and increased risk of stillbirth.
How are Long Periods of Undisturbed Sleep Linked to Stillbirth?
Stillbirth is the least wanted and one of the least researched outcomes of pregnancy, so every new data is significant in terms of understanding how and why this occurs. It refers to the situation when the baby is born dead, usually after the 24th week of pregnancy. So, how are sleep quality and its length linked to stillbirth?
While waking up often during the night to go to the bathroom, or changing sleep position is something that many pregnant women are struggling with, it seems that these sleep disruptions may not be as bad as they seem. Researchers claim that although further examinations and tests will be needed, undisrupted and prolonged maternal sleep can jeopardize fetal well-being.
During sleep, our blood pressure is at its lowest, but when we are suddenly awakened, it goes high again. Due to brief sleep disruptions and increases in blood pressure, long periods of low blood pressure are avoided. This is essential because many problems with fetal development, preterm birth, and stillbirth have been connected to low blood pressure. However, this does not mean that women should intentionally wake themselves up during the night because overly disrupted sleep is not good either.
Maternal sleep is vital for fetal growth and development, but extended periods of undisturbed sleep can jeopardize fetal well-being. Sleeping for 8, 9, or even more hours is something that is a risk factor in this case. Hence it is essential that future moms are getting enough rest but also maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
How to Prevent Stillbirth
You may be surprised to find out that there are ten times more stillborn babies than the ones that die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Every year around 24,000 babies are stillborn in the US. That is approximately one out of 160 pregnancies, so the rate is very high. Hence, it is important to speak about prevention and research like this one.
Practising tips from a sleep guide for pregnancy could help you prevent stillbirth. Besides avoiding to sleep too much, here are some other things that you can do in order to prevent stillbirth.
If you are a smoker, you should quit it without further due to because this is probably an essential change that you can make. Not only that smoking increases the risk of stillbirth, but it can be the cause of many other complications.
Although it has not been proven that sleep position can also impact stillbirth, it is recommended that during your third-trimester you sleep in a side position. When sleeping on your back, the body of the baby will be putting extra pressure on your blood vessels, which can restrict oxygen and blood flow to the baby.
Pay attention to the consistency and the intensity of the baby’s moves, try noticing a certain pattern. By doing so, it will be easier to notice any changes that can be a signal that something is going wrong.
Be regular with your scans and antenatal appointments because they are created to spot any problem at an early stage when it is possible to handle it.
Try eating healthy, avoid getting sick, or being around people who are ill, pay attention to our overall well being. Although pregnancy comes with a lot of changes, headaches, shivering, and blurred vision can be the signs of preeclampsia. Itching is somewhat normal, but if your hands and feet are particularly itchy, it could be a sign of liver problems that can later cause premature labor and stillbirth.
Pregnancy is not easy since it can be hard and draining both mentally and physically, especially during the third-trimester when future moms need to bear more weight. However, we strongly advise that no matter how tired you are, you avoid oversleeping the entire morning or excessive sleep in general.
Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.