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15th Jun 2019

Science says pregnant women should take regular naps (we knew it)

Trine Jensen-Burke

Pregnant and can’t keep your eyes open?

That was me – on both my pregnancies.

And the funny thing – normal, non-pregnant me needs very little sleep – and certainly never a nap during the day.

And yet, like clockwork, when I was pregnant, I would literally hardly be in from work before I would collapse onto the sofa and fall asleep.

And the thing is – we should all be doing just that when we are pregnant according to a new study.

Yup, it’s true. New research published in the journal Sleep Medicine, states that pregnant mamas have full permission to get some shut-eye whenever they feel like it—for the health of their babies.

What the researchers found, was that women who napped regularly when pregnant were less likely to have a baby with a low birth weight, defined as weighing less than 5.5 lbs.

This matters long-term too, as a low birth weight is associated with health complications during childhood and adulthood, such as respiratory illnesses and hypertension.

What this means, tired mamas, is that snoozing doesn’t only help you get through the afternoon, but also has some potentially big benefits for the long-term health of your baby.

For the project and report, researchers in China analyzed data from 10,111 participants in the 2012-2014 Healthy Baby Cohort study. They found that expectant mothers who regularly took afternoon naps between 60 and 90 minutes long were 29 percent less likely to have a baby with a low birth weight compared with mothers who didn’t nap. As well as this, they also found that napping five to seven days a week reduced the likelihood of having a baby with a low birth weight by 22 percent.