Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Sleep Key to Pitching Pregnancy Pounds

Study: New Moms Who Get at Least 5 Daily Hours of Sleep Are More Likely to Shed Pregnancy Weight
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 19, 2007 -- It's no secret that a new baby can wreak havoc on parents' sleep, and new research ties that sleep shortfall to the mother's weight.

Here's the tipping point: five hours of shut-eye (for mother, not baby).

Moms who get at least that much sleep in a typical 24-hour period tend to shed more of their baby weight than other mothers, a new study shows.

That sleep time doesn't have to come all at once. A little sleep here, a quick nap there -- it all counts.

Data came from 940 women in Massachusetts who had healthy pregnancies.

When the women were pregnant, they reported their prepregnancy weight. Six months and a year after giving birth, they reported their current weight and hours of sleep in a typical 24-hour period.

Women who reported getting less than five hours of sleep when their babies were 6 months old tended to keep more of their pregnancy weight.

Those moms were three times as likely as mothers who slept seven hours to have retained at least 11 pounds of their pregnancy weight gain.

Erica Gunderson, PhD, and colleagues report that news in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Gunderson works at the Kaiser Permanente Research Foundation in Oakland, Calif.

(Have you bounced back from childbirth? How long did it take? Tell your stories in our poll on WebMD's Parenting: Newborn to 3 Months message board.)

Fatigue Factor

Fatigue can spill over into just about every aspect of a new mom's life, and health care workers should talk to mothers about that.

So say researchers including the University of Minnesota's Pat McGovern, PhD, MPH.

They studied 661 Minnesota mothers of newborns.

The moms were 30 years old on average. Most were married or living with their partner.

The mothers were interviewed when their babies were 5 weeks old and 11 weeks old. Topics included the moms' physical health, mental health, and postpartum symptoms.

Fatigue was the moms' leading symptom, reported by nearly two-thirds of moms in the first interview and about 43% in the second interview, when about half of the moms had resumed working outside the home.

Moms who reported better physical health also said they were healthy and had supportive co-workers before pregnancy.

Also, the mothers rated their mental health more highly if they had been healthy -- with stable moods, supportive friends and family, control over their home and work, and manageable job stress -- before pregnancy.

Health care workers should counsel tired moms on cutting job stress and boosting social support at home and work, according to McGovern's team.

Their findings appear in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Woman looking at pregnancy test
calendar and baby buggy
dark chocolate squares