While it’s normal to feel fatigued during pregnancy, be careful not to sleep longer than nine hours a night…

Sleeping more than nine hours per night during pregnancy may be associated with late stillbirth, a

Getting enough sleep during pregnancy is essential, but too much could be bad for your baby’s health.

This is according to a recent Michigan Medicine-led international study.

Researchers analysed surveys involving 153 women who had experienced a late stillbirth (on or after 28 weeks of pregnancy) and 480 women in third-trimester pregnancy or who had recently delivered a live born baby.

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They found a link between lengthy periods of undisturbed maternal sleep and stillbirths, independent of other risk factors.

And what about waking up often throughout the night?

It may be a good thing – even though it doesn’t feel like it.

“Pregnant women often report waking up and getting up in the middle of the night,” says lead author Louise O’Brien, Ph.D., M.S., a University of Michigan researcher in the Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Neurology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Michigan Medicine.

“While multiple awakenings during the night may concern some women, in the context of stillbirth it appears to be protective.”

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What does blood pressure have to do with it?

O’Brien says further studies need to delve deeper into what may drive the relationship between maternal sleep and stillbirths, with a particular focus on how the autonomic nervous system – the control system that regulates bodily function – and the hormonal system are regulated during sleep in late pregnancy.

She notes that blood pressure reaches its lowest point during sleep but when someone is awakened, there is a surge in the nervous system activity that causes transient increases in blood pressure.

It’s possible that these brief increases in blood pressure are able to prevent long periods of relatively low pressure. This is important, O’Brien says, because low blood pressure has been linked with foetal growth problems, preterm birth, and stillbirth.

Don’t wake yourself up on purpose

O’Brien also cautions that “pregnant women should not be waking themselves up at night.”

Very disruptive sleep has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including growth restriction and preterm growth.

Source: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan via www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.