Long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth on sleep quality and duration of first-time and experienced mothers and fathers
December 5, 2018 12:30 - 13:30
Ferdinand Friedensburg RoomDIW BerlinRoom 2.3.001Mohrenstraße 5810117 Berlin
Study Objectives: This study examines the change in mothers’ and fathers’ sleep satisfaction and sleep duration across pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum up to six years after birth and examines potential protective and risk factors for sleep during that time. Methods: Participants of a large representative panel study from Germany reported sleep satisfaction and sleep duration in yearly interviews. During the observation period (2008–2015), 2,367 parents reported birth of the first child, 2,666 parents reported birth of the second and 1,184 parents reported birth of the third child. Fixed-effects regression models were used to analyze changes in sleep associated with childbirth. Results: Sleep satisfaction and duration sharply declined with childbirth and reached a nadir during the first three months postpartum, with women more strongly affected (women: d = 0.79, 62 min; men: d = 0.16, 13 min for sleep satisfaction and duration compared with pre pregnancy). In both women and men, sleep satisfaction and duration did not fully recover for up to six years after birth of their first child. Breastfeeding was associated with a slight decrease in maternal sleep satisfaction (d = 0.32) and duration (14 min). Parental age, household income, and dual vs. single parenting were unrelated, or only very weakly related to improved sleep. Conclusions: While sleep satisfaction and duration decline particularly in the first months postpartum, both mothers’ and fathers’ sleep do not fully recover to pre-pregnancy levels up to six years after birth of the first child.