Journal of Rural Medicine
Online ISSN : 1880-4888
Print ISSN : 1880-487X
ISSN-L : 1880-487X
Original article
Sleep deprivation and fatigue in early postpartum and their association with postpartum depression in primiparas intending to establish breastfeeding
Ai KawashimaNozomi DetsukaRika Yano
Author information

2022 Volume 17 Issue 1 Pages 40-49


Objective: To examine the association of objective sleep and fatigue in the early postpartum period with postpartum depression in Japanese primiparas intending to establish breastfeeding.

Materials and Methods: The participants were 34 primiparas who were in the postnatal ward after vaginal delivery and responsively breastfeeding their rooming-in baby. Actigraphy data for objective sleep were collected for three consecutive days starting from the first day postpartum. Fatigue and postpartum depression were assessed using the Postpartum Fatigue Scale and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, respectively, on numerous days between the first day postpartum and the one-month checkup. Breastfeeding and rooming-in data were also collected.

Results: The mean total sleep time was 252.0 ± 73.1 min/day. Mean breastfeeding frequency was 12.4 ± 3.2 times/day and mean total breastfeeding time was 247.4 ± 101.8 min/day. Among the participants, 67.6% were exclusively breastfeeding on the discharge day. Fatigue scores were significantly higher during the hospital stay, compared with one month postpartum. Multiple regression analysis showed that sleep frequency on the third day postpartum and mean total breastfeeding time and fatigue on the fifth day postpartum were factors affecting the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score.

Conclusion: The association between postpartum depression among breastfeeding primiparas in the early postpartum period and objective sleep, fatigue, and total breastfeeding time per day was suggested. An environment wherein breastfeeding mothers can rest and sleep without hesitation will be beneficial. Moreover, the importance of sleep during pregnancy and the early postpartum period must be highlighted. Midwifery and/or nursing care starting while the mother is in a postnatal hospital stay can play a key role in preventing postpartum depression.

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