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03-02-2020 | Uitgave 7/2020

Quality of Life Research 7/2020

Changes in quality of life and sleep across the perinatal period in women with mood disorders

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2020
A. W. Kang, T. B. Pearlstein, K. M. Sharkey
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The perinatal period represents a time of significant life changes associated with increases in sleep difficulties, depression, and potentially impaired quality of life (QoL). Associations between QoL and sleep among women with perinatal depression are poorly understood, and changes in QoL across the perinatal period have received little attention.


Participants were the treatment-as-usual group (n = 23) from a clinical trial testing an intervention for perinatal mood disorders. They completed the WHOQOL-Bref, had depression assessed with the HAM-D-17, and wore wrist actigraphs to estimate sleep for 1 week during third trimester and at 6 weeks postpartum.


Higher education level was associated with better environmental QoL during pregnancy (p = .044) and presence of older children was associated with worse social QoL postpartum (p = .045). Psychological health QoL worsened (p = .014) across the perinatal period. Total sleep time (p = .001) and sleep efficiency (p = .008) decreased from third trimester to postpartum week 6, but sleep measures were not associated with QoL at either time point. Depressive symptoms decreased from pregnancy to postpartum week 6 and were inversely associated with postpartum physical and social QoL (p = .031 and .048).


Factors contributing to self-rated QoL are variable across multiple domains during the perinatal period. QoL among our participants was lower than population norms. In our sample of women with depression and/or anxiety, QoL was related to postpartum depressive symptoms, but not to objectively measured sleep quality, quantity, or timing. Links between QoL and sleep may be inherently complex in perinatal women.

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