Acupuncture improves sleep quality in pregnant women, possibly by increasing melatonin secretion, according to findings published in Nature and Science of Sleep.

Nearly half of pregnant women suffer from poor quality sleep, particularly in the third trimester, and poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery and postnatal depression. Sleep disruption during pregnancy may negatively affect fetal growth.

Saeedeh Foroughinia, MD, of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Shiraz University Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran, and colleagues conducted a randomized, parallel, single-blinded, controlled trial on 72 pregnant women with insomnia. The women were randomly assigned to either 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment over a 3 week period or the control group, which received sleep hygiene education and sham acupuncture. The investigators evaluated participants at baseline and post-treatment with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin. 

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