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Sleep quality across pregnancy and postpartum: effects of parity and race

      Abstract

      Background

      Despite high prevalence and clinical implications of disturbed sleep during pregnancy, information on changes in sleep across pregnancy and postpartum is incomplete. Moreover, predictors of differential patterns of sleep quality across the perinatal period are poorly defined.

      Methods

      This study examined subjective sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index during each trimester of pregnancy and at 4-11 weeks postpartum among 133 women inclusive of nulliparous and multiparous African Americans and Whites.

      Results

      At any given assessment, 53%-71% of women reported poor overall sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index total score > 5). Moreover, 92% reported poor overall sleep quality during at least 1 assessment, including 88% at some time during gestation. Compared to nulliparous women, multiparous women reported poorer overall sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, and poorer sleep efficiency during the first trimester; poorer overall sleep quality and longer sleep latency in the second trimester; and more frequent sleep disturbances (eg, night time and early morning awakenings) during the third trimester. Among nulliparous as well as multiparous women, specific aspects of sleep (eg, subjective sleep quality, sleep disturbances, sleep efficiency) were poorer in African American compared to White women at different time points during pregnancy. No effects of race or parity were observed on sleep parameters at postpartum.

      Conclusions

      Poor sleep quality during pregnancy as well as early postpartum is highly prevalent among both African American and White women. Both multiparous status and African American race are associated with more disturbed sleep at some time points during pregnancy. These individual differences should be considered in future research and clinical efforts to promote perinatal sleep health.

      Keywords

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