FRIDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A good night's sleep when you're pregnant may help keep your blood pressure levels normal, new research suggests.
Pregnant women who got less than six hours of nightly sleep during early pregnancy had systolic blood pressure readings in their last trimester that were nearly 4 mm/Hg higher than women who slept nine hours nightly, the study found. And women who got less than five hours of sleep increased their odds of developing preeclampsia -- a serious pregnancy complication related to high blood pressure -- more than ninefold.
On the other hand, getting too much sleep could also be a problem: women who reported sleeping more than 10 hours a night in their first trimester had more than a twofold increase in the risk of developing preeclampsia, according to the study published in the October issue of the journal Sleep.
"Women, in general, need about seven to nine hours of sleep during pregnancy, preferably nine hours. Getting less than that amount can have health affects," said study author Michelle Williams, a professor of epidemiology and global health at the University of Washington, and co-director of the Center for Perinatal Studies at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
"Women generally already know that they're eating well and getting enough exercise for two during pregnancy. Our study suggests that women should also aspire to sleep well for two," said Williams.
But, she added, because the current study is one of the first to show this association, its findings need to be confirmed by other researchers before any recommendations can be made.
The study included 1,272 healthy pregnant women who were recruited for the study during prenatal care visits to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle between December 2003 and July 2006.
All the women reported information on their lifestyles and health chara
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