It’s time to give into that pregnancy fatigue: a new study finally says naps during pregnancy are good for baby’s health. Specifically, napping is linked to a healthier birth weight, decreasing the risk of baby being born too small.
Researchers in China, where afternoon napping is common, looked at data from over 10,000 women involved in the the ongoing Healthy Baby Cohort study. As part of the study, women answered questions about their sleep habits during pregnancy after delivery. Compared to women who reported no napping at all, women who reported taking afternoon naps for at least an hour and a half had a significantly lower chance of having a baby with a low birth weight (5 pounds, 8 ounces or lighter). While women who napped for an hour also had a reduced risk of delivering a small baby, those extra thirty minutes nearly doubled the protective effect.
It gets better. The more naps you take, the stronger the correlation. The link between naps and a healthy birth weight was strongest in women who reported 90-minute naps five to seven days a week.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate the association between afternoon napping and frequency of afternoon napping during late pregnancy and low birth weight risk,” study authors write. “Our findings suggest that appropriate afternoon napping and frequency of afternoon napping for pregnant women might reduce the risk of low birth weight.”
Music to our ears. Of course, other factors contribute to a healthy birth weight as well. The number one thing moms-to-be should work to control? Their own health. Previous research has shown babies born to healthy, well-nourished mothers are "strikingly similar” in size around the world.