Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published a study correlating sleeping patterns and increased risk of stillbirth, preeclampsia and low birth weight. Sleeping patterns can be altered and thus, so can the increased risk of pregnancy complications.

Data was gathered up to 48 hours after birth from women who delivered at a teaching hospital in Ghana. New mothers were asked about sleeping habits, including position and quality of sleep. The majority of women reported poor sleep in pregnancy, not an uncommon complaint. However, snoring and sleep position were found to be a risk of pregnancy complications. Women who snored were at increased risk of preeclampsia and a supine sleeping position was associated with low birth weight and stillbirth.

The study data was based on women from Ghana, but the results open the doorway for future research into the effect of sleep quality, position and snoring on pregnancy outcome.

Source: Owusu JT, Anderson FJ, Coleman J, Oppong S, Seffah JD, Aikins A, O'Brien LM. Association of maternal sleep practices with pre-eclampsia, low birth weight, and stillbirth among Ghanaian women. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 Mar 15. pii: S0020-7292(13)00094-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2013.01.013.