Too Much or Not Enough Sleep Can Cause Complications For Pregnant Women

A study that involved completed questionnaires in the 14th week of pregnancy, has revealed that pregnant women who get five hours of sleep or less per night and those who sleep more the ten hours a night are at an increased risk of running into complications with their pregnancy.

Pregnant women within these two groups, lack of sleep or too much sleep, have shown an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia – a condition has been known to occur in women with high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems and results in organ damage and even death of the unborn child.

Women who do not get enough sleep are at risk because, during a normal sleep cycle, blood pressure will drop 10 to 20 percent.  An abnormal sleep cycle will cause individuals to experience higher than normal blood pressure over a twenty-four hour interval.

It was also discovered that lack of sleep during pregnancy affects the level of endothelin and vasopressin hormones within the body. This change in hormone levels affects the widening and restriction of blood vessels which, in turn, affects blood pressure.

This small increase in blood pressure and change in hormone levels negatively affects the heart’s functions, placing women at risk of developing complications throughout their pregnancy.

The average person is encouraged to sleep for an average of seven or eight hours a night, while pregnant women are advised to sleep for longer to ensure they don’t become exhausted and develop health problems.

Researchers don’t know why excessive sleep causes blood pressure complications but believe it may relate to underlying conditions like depression or breathing problems during sleep.

Researcher Dr Michelle Williams commented,

“Both short and long sleep duration in early pregnancy were associated with increased mean third trimester systolic and diastolic blood pressure values. If our results are confirmed by other studies, the findings may motivate increased efforts aimed at exploring lifestyle approaches, particularly improved sleep habits, to lower risks”.

– Jeff, Staff Writer

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