In what may be the best news of the century, a new study suggests that napping during pregnancy could reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby of a low birth weight. Low birth weight is defined as an infant weighing 5.5 lbs or less. This occurs in 8% of all births in the US. That data comes from the Centers for Disease Control.
The new study out of China found that mothers who are well rested have healthier babies. This makes sense because sleep and our health, even outside of pregnancy, is closely linked. Getting good sleep is essential to good health. The study was led by Lulu Song of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan. They followed 10,000 women who chose to participate in the "Healthy Baby Cohort" study in China. Of these women, 442 of them had a low birth weight baby. Mothers who reported napping for at least one to one and half hours at a time were found to have a 29% less likely chance of giving birth to a low birth weight baby. The frequency of naps was also determined to play a role. Women who said they napped five to seven days a week were 22% less likely to have a low birth weight baby.
PREVIOUSLY: PREGNANCY AND BABY DREAMS DECODED
Reuters reports that this study wasn’t a controlled experiment, so these particular findings cannot prove if naps do, in fact, reduce the possibility of low birth weight infants. However, it can be noted that napping may reduce these risks and pregnant women should take that into consideration. Babies who are born at a low birth weight can experience health problems in childhood and well into adulthood.
Sleep in pregnancy is a slippery slope. With a rapidly changing body and an influx of hormones, good sleep is hard to find. There is no comfort in the third trimester and other physical ailments like reflux, gas, and intense dreams can affect the quality sleep. Not to mention pregnancy induced insomnia that some women suffer from, naps are pretty much essential. That is if you can manage to fit in a nap. Women who work full time and have other children to care for may not get the rest they need and deserve while pregnant.
Pregnancy is hard work and can take a huge toll on your body. You’re more tired, and for good reason, so you need to take the time to rest. This study linking naps and healthy weight newborns should be reason enough to try and fit in a daily nap.
Plus we all know that once that baby comes, naps and sleep will be a thing of the past! Take advantage of it while you can!
Did you nap during pregnancy? What do you think of these findings?