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Newly Pregnant Mamas Wake Up Earlier, Science Shows

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If you find yourself getting up very early in the morning and more than usual, that might be a tell-tale sign of what’s to come. According to research, newly pregnant women tend to get up very early in the mornings as their activity levels begin to change.

According to Science Daily, both women and mice find themselves waking up before the crack of dawn as they experience a new shift in their daily schedules because of pregnancy. Many wake up as early as a few hours during the first trimester of their pregnancies.

The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, looked at how impending motherhood induces changes in a woman’s day-to-day schedule. The study even suggests that when a woman’s regular schedule is disrupted, it might put her pregnancy at risk. The findings were published in Journal of Biological Rhythms.

Carmel A. Martin-Fairey, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biology in Arts & Sciences and in obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, says that a woman’s sleep cycle does help researchers understand what’s happening during the first trimester of a pregnancy. It also helps provide information and give health professionals the ability to intervene or prevent preterm birth in some cases.

Statistics show that one in 10 babies are born too early, or before a woman’s 37th week in her pregnancy. Sometimes shift work or other disruptions in a pregnant woman’s sleep cycle are associated with preterm birth or other poor reproductive outcomes. Before this study, there was very little that was known about "circadian timing during pregnancy,"the study shows.

The study also said that mice had the same results. Erik Herzog, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, confirms that sleep and daily timing is most important during the early weeks of a pregnancy. Both mice and women tend to do less as their pregnancies progress, but that might be because they have less energy overall.

Herzog said, “Later in pregnancy, that's when we start to see that they're carrying a load and running less. There's the fatigue perhaps, or extra work that's required to carry a baby. But there's something about the daily timing system that's changing early in pregnancy probably due to the hormones that are associated with pregnancy.”

Those who are looking to boost their pregnancies and their overall health would be best to maximize the amount of sleep they get per night, says the researchers.

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