Introduction: Parental sleep disruption is linked to postpartum depression and impaired parent-infant interactions. Parents of preterm infants are a particularly vulnerable group for mental health problems, and may experience unique factors affecting sleep. Our recent systematic review identified that during preterm infant hospitalization, parents sleep <7 hours/day and the quality of their sleep is disrupted. However, there was insufficient evidence to inform longitudinal changes in sleep or differences in sleep for parents of preterm infants and parents of healthy, term infants. The objective of this study is to characterize sleep and factors affecting sleep for parents of preterm infants during hospitalization and following discharge, and make comparisons to parents of healthy, term infants.
Methods: Using a multi-site, prospective cohort study design, 240 parents in Ontario will be recruited to complete psychometrically validated online questionnaires. Repeated measures will be collected in hospital (preterm only-T0), 4 weeks following hospital discharge (T1), and at 4 months infant age (corrected for prematurity) (T2). A total of 120 parents (80 mothers; 40 fathers) of preterm infants (26-34 completed weeks) will be recruited from three NICUs in Ontario; and 120 parents (80 mothers; 40 fathers) of healthy, term infants will be recruited via social media and posted advertisements. Questionnaires include measures on parental sleep, depression, anxiety, partner support, nighttime routines, infant sleep and feeding patterns (15-30 minutes to complete). Primary analysis will include linear regression and generalized estimating equations.
Results: Participant recruitment and data collection is on-going, and expected to be completed by February 2021.
Conclusion: This study will be the first to examine sleep in parents of preterm infants in Canada. A better understanding of sleep is necessary to identify at-risk families, guide clinical sleep recommendations, and inform development of interventions aimed at maximizing sleep and well-being for parents after preterm birth.
Cindy-Lee Dennis– Women’s Health Research Chair, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital; Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
Prakeshkumar Shah– Director, Canadian Neonatal Network, Mount Sinai Hospital
Douglas Campbell– Neonatologist/Associate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital
Eugene Ng– Neonatologist; Chief, Newborn & Developmental Paediatrics, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Robyn Stremler– Associate Professor/Adjunct Scientist, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto; The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)