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J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2007 Apr-Jun;21(2):123-9.

Patterns of sleep disruption and depressive symptoms in new mothers.

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  • 1Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



This study describes the patterns of sleep disturbance and depressive symptoms in a sample of childbearing women from the third trimester through the postpartum period. The relationship between sleep and depressive symptoms is also examined. A secondary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between self-report measures of sleep and depressive symptoms between women with depressive symptoms in comparison with women with minimal or no depressive symptoms in the third trimester and in the third month postpartum.


This longitudinal, descriptive study followed 124 primiparous women from their last month of pregnancy through 3 months postpartum. Questionnaires on sleep and depressive symptoms were completed during the third trimester (Time 1), 1 month postpartum (Time 2), 2 months postpartum (Time 3), and during the third month postpartum (Time 4). Sleep measures in a subset of women with depressive symptoms were compared with those of women with minimal or no symptoms at Time 1 and Time 4.


Sleep disturbance and depressive symptoms were associated at Time 1 and Time 4. For new mothers, a complaint of trouble falling asleep (delayed sleep onset latency) may be the most relevant screening question in relation to their risk for postpartum depression.

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