Poor sleep is commonly problematic during pregnancy and postpartum and is associated with depression. This trial investigated the efficacy of prenatal brief, group sleep psychoeducation in improving postpartum maternal sleep and depression.
215 healthy expectant first-time mothers were cluster randomised (1:1) to receive either a 2 x 1.5hr psychoeducation intervention and a set of booklets, or a set of booklets only. Participants completed questionnaires during pregnancy (pre-intervention), and 6 weeks and 4 months postpartum. A post-hoc subset of questionnaires was collected at 10 months postpartum. The primary hypothesis was the intervention group would have improved postpartum sleep quality, and reduced levels of insomnia symptoms, fatigue and daytime sleepiness compared to the control group. Secondary outcomes included depression, anxiety and stress.
Linear mixed model analyses failed to confirm a group by time interaction on primary or secondary outcomes across all time points. There was no effect of the intervention on outcomes at six weeks, or ten months postpartum. A significant time by group interaction was found at four months, favouring the intervention for sleep quality (p = 0.03) and insomnia symptoms (p = 0.03), but not fatigue or daytime sleepiness.
Prenatal sleep psychoeducation did not produce a sustained effect on maternal sleep throughout the postpartum period. There was little evidence of benefits on depressive symptoms.
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