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Study Explores Causal Ties Between Pregnancy Outcomes, Genetic Risk of Insomnia

For a paper in PLOS Medicine, a team led by investigators at the University of Bristol, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and other centers used Mendelian randomization to analyze pregnancy and perinatal outcomes such as hypertension, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, preterm birth, or birthweight in relation to dozens of insomnia-associated SNPs in nearly 356,100 women with European ancestry from several large population studies. The analyses pointed to "some evidence in support of a possible causal relationship between genetically predicted insomnia and miscarriage, perinatal depression, and [low birth weight]," the authors report, noting that the broader results "highlight the importance of healthy sleep in women of reproductive age, though replication in larger studies, including with genetic instruments specific to insomnia in pregnancy, are important."