An OB/GYN gives us pointers on catching more Zs.
The London Sunday Times recently ran a great article about post-natal insomnia. The latest research has shown that new mothers typically spend 20% more time awake during the first six weeks after childbirth than is the average. In addition, postpartum women wake more frequently and have less dream sleep than non-postpartum women. The article said that the sleep problems continue for many women even after the baby starts sleeping through the night.
We asked OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz to review the article and weigh in. "This is a really great article which sheds light on a heretofore poorly understood and unexamined area of the stressors of the postpartum period," she says. "Sleep deprivation is often hinted at or joked about as one of those things new parents just have to survive -- but lack of sleep can lead to many other problems such as anxiety and depression, metabolic disruptions, and lasting changes in habits. The postpartum time is such an important time that our Western culture just does not support or value enough. Women, by pushing to look great (i.e., the same as a woman without a baby!) and 'return to normal' ASAP buy into that culture. The realities of attending to a new baby are tremendous, but remedies such as sleeping when the baby does, getting good nutrition, and even receiving regular massage and body work can significantly improve sleep and mood. Family and community support are crucial to surviving and thriving during this time -- when our basic needs, such as sleep, are attended to, we are better moms and better people."
Did you experience post-natal insomnia? Share your story below.
|Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz completed her undergraduate education at Wesleyan University and post-baccalaureate pre-med studies at Mills College. She earned her medical degree from the USC School of Medicine and has been in private practice for 9 years. She is the co-founder of Cedar Sinai Medical Center's Green Committee and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.|