Your “Pregnancy Mood” May Be Crucial to Baby’s Sleep

HealthGal Health Guide
  • My first child was not a sleeper - maybe that KISS concert I went to in my 8th month of pregnancy was to blame.  alot of "bouncing in my belly" during that musical event.  My second child was the calmest, best sleeper - and yes, Barry Manilow was my 8th month choice for him.  Any correlation or truth here??

     

    Health experts agree that the sleep patterns in the first 6 months of a baby's life are crucial to developing sleep and wake patterns or circadian rhythms.  According to a study out of the University of Michigan, some kids may have a deck that stacked slightly against developing those healthy habits. Babies whose mothers developed depression before becoming pregnant or mood problems while they were pregnant, were more prone to have babies with  "chaotic sleep patterns" in their first 6 months of life, than children from mentally healthy moms.

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    Children born of depressed moms slept more during the day and had trouble settling down to actually sleep and woke up more during the night (baby insomnia).  During the study itself, mothers who had depression and sought help for it and "normal moms" were fitted with monitors that tracked them during the last trimester of pregnancy and then, after birth, the babies themselves were fitted with these monitors.  The monitors tracked sleep time at night, light exposure during the day and patterns and habits of wakefulness and sleep.  The conclusion was that the babies of the depressed moms clearly were "sleep handicapped" from birth.  Experts want to be clear - babies born of moms who have no apparent depression or mood issues can also have sleep problems.  Either way - knowing which babies might be born with sleep issues means we can work with these moms and babies to devise ways to correct the problem (mom's depression, mood issues) and enhance sleep-wake cycles.

    Are you a mom struggling with sleep issues (yours or baby's??) Please share!!

     

    Experts say that by the 4th month, moms and babies should have established firm, healthy sleep and wake patterns (with appropriately placed naps).  Sleep is especially important for moms who may be at risk or post-partum depression, which can be worsened by insufficient sleep.  If baby doesn't sleep well - then mom inevitably won't sleep well.  We now know how vital sleep is for optimal health - and this goes for baby and mommy.  So if we can identify babies at risk for problems by diagnosing mommy - it's a win-win for both baby and mother in treating and optimizing the sleep patterns and habits

Published On: September 04, 2008