A recent study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown potential links between sleep disorders in pregnant women and premature births.
Premature birth is defined by the WHO as happening before 37 weeks or 259 days of gestation and plays a large role in neonatal mortality and morbidity. It is estimated that premature birth accounts for 28 percent of neonatal deaths. In 2015, Mexico saw 12.5 neonatal deaths per 1,000 babies born. Those who survive often suffer from ill health and have higher rates of cerebral palsy, sensory defects, learning disabilities and respiratory illnesses than full-term babies.
The new study looked at data from 3 million births in California between 2007 and 2012 and found that based on a selection of 2,172 women with sleep disorders and 2,172 without, those with poor sleep were over 35 percent more likely to deliver prematurely.
Risk factors for poor sleep include overweight or obesity, ethnicity, age (35 or over), diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and drug or alcohol consumption while pregnant. Over 70 percent of Mexicans are overweight or obese and around 16 percent of the population is diabetic.
The study is part of the University of California, San Francisco (USCF) Preterm Birth Initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Lynne and Marc Benioff. The initiative aims to reduce the number of preterm births and works in California and East Africa.