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Physical activity and sleep among pregnant women


Katja Borodulin, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O.Box 30, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland.


Borodulin K, Evenson KR, Monda K, Wen F, Herring AH, Dole N. Physical activity and sleep among pregnant women. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010; 24: 45–52.

Sleep disturbances are common among pregnant women and safe treatments to improve sleep are needed. Generally, physical activity improves sleep, but studies are lacking on the associations of physical activity with sleep among pregnant women. Our aim was to investigate the cross-sectional association of various modes of physical activity and activity clusters with sleep quality and duration among 1259 pregnant women. Participants were recruited into the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study from prenatal clinics at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. Women self-reported sleep quality and duration and physical activity in the past week. We used cluster analysis to create seven physical activity profiles and multivariable logistic regression analysis, with adjustments for age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, parity, self-rated general health, anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Women with higher levels of occupational physical activity were more likely to report either short or normal sleep duration than longer duration. Women with higher levels of indoor household physical activity were less likely to report normal sleep duration than shorter duration. Women in the recreational-indoor household activity cluster were less likely than women in the inactivity cluster to report normal sleep duration as compared with longer duration. Our data suggest weak associations of physical activity with sleep duration and quality in late pregnancy. Physical activity is recommended to pregnant women for health benefits, yet more research is needed to understand if physical activity should be recommended for improving sleep.