Disturbed sleep, a novel risk factor for preterm birth?

Michele L. Okun*, James F. Luther, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Dorothy Sit, Beth A. Prairie, Katherine L. Wisner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective: The etiology of preterm birth (PTB) is likely caused by multiple factors, which may include disturbed sleep. We evaluated whether sleep disturbance was associated with PTB and whether the association was affected by other psychosocial risk factors. Methods: Pregnant women (n=217) for whom we had depression and sleep data at 20 or 30 weeks gestation and delivery information were evaluated. Logistic models were used to test the hypotheses that disturbed sleep was associated with PTB. Results: Time in bed at 20 weeks was significantly associated with risk for preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-1.88). However, after controlling for depression/selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) status, history of PTB, age, employment, and marital status, this relationship was no longer significant (OR 1.26, 95% CI .92-1.71). No other relationships were significant. Conclusions: We report preliminary evidence suggesting that poor sleep may contribute to risk for PTB. Although it is speculative and additional work is needed to confirm or refute whether sleep is an independent or mediating risk factor for PTB, disturbed sleep does appear to play a role in adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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