Poor sleep in pregnancy can cause birth complications
New research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has determined that problems with sleep during pregnancy can lead to birth-related complications. For instance, the study found that low birth weight can be a product of disruptions in the immune system caused by sleep difficulties. The researchers also concluded that depressed women were more likely than non-depressed peers to suffer from disturbed sleep and to experience the immune disruptions that lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes.
While lack of sleep can harm the immune systems of all men and women, it can bring particular risks during pregnancy, which is often associated with changes in sleep patterns and quality. The researchers noted that sleep disturbances can exacerbate the body’s inflammatory responses and cause an overproduction of cytokines, which can attack and destroy healthy cells. In extreme cases, cytokines can disrupt spinal arteries that lead to the placenta, cause vascular disease, lead to depression and increase the chances of premature birth.
The scientists, who studied 170 pregnant women, say the results show the importance of early detection of sleep problems during pregnancy and the need for women to discuss this with their physicians.