All future mothers are facing episodes of bad sleep or restless nights at one point or another during their pregnancy . If during la last trimester the size of the belly can be an issue making impossible for you to sleep comfortably, in case you have current problems with sleep all through your pregnancy some serious problems may appear.
What do recent studies say ?
The studies published in Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, conducted by Pittsburg University School of Medicine discovered that lack of sleep during pregnancy can cause immune system issues that lead to birth problems.
Pregnancy depression linked to bad sleep
Women experience poor sleep linked to depression regardless they are pregnant or not. The disturbing fact is that the effects of depression appear during pregnancy even if the future mom is no longer depressed. Because the sleep suffers important changes during pregnancy the sleep related issues become even more severe.
Sleep problems and immune system
The sleep problems interfere with the health of immune system for both men and women. During pregnancy when the immune system is weaker the lack of quality sleep triggers an inflammatory response in the pregnant woman’s body . The body produces a larger amount of cytokines – connection molecules , which act as links inside the immune system.
Cytokines are vital for pregnancy but a number larger than normal can become an issue. These cells can act out destroying tissue causing the pregnant women to be prone to infectious diseases.
The increasing number of cytokines can lead to disruptions in spinal arteries linked to the placenta and other vascular problems.
Low birth weight
Any change in immunity is usually connected to severe health problems. In the case of pregnant women, studies showed that the increase in cytokines leads to low birth weight in babies. Preeclampsia and preterm birth are also part of the problems discovered to be linked with sleep deprivation and pregnancy depression .
The research was conducted over 10 weeks on a number of 170 women , pregnant and non-pregnant all experiencing insomnia combined with depression and inflammatory cytokines.
20 weeks pregnant women presented higher levels of cytokines compared to non-pregnant ones, while 30 weeks pregnant women showed the same levels.
Cytokines increase in number as pregnancy progresses so the danger is present during the first and second trimesters. This is why scientists advise pregnant women to notify their doctors in case insomnia and depression appear during the first pregnancy stages.