The implications of rest and sleep following childbirth

Valerie Larkin, Margaret Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of sleep has been underestimated in nursing theory and practice (Southwell, 1995). Equally, its recognition as a priority in midwifery care has received only token lip service within the midwifery literature and profession. Although it is frequently identified as a need, there is little discussion as to the impact of insufficient rest and sleep or the role of the midwife in facilitating this need. The apparent mismatch between the reported occurrence of lack of rest and sleep and its relatively low priority in midwifery care, suggests there is a need to highlight and explore sleep and rest in the postnatal period. This article aims to explore the physiological significance of rest and sleep upon women during the postnatal period. This analysis will then be related to the emotional, cognitive and physical demands following childbirth, which may contribute to insufficient rest and sleep. Finally, the role of the midwife and care provisions will be discussed and recommendations made for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-442
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'The implications of rest and sleep following childbirth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this