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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Effective for Prenatal Insomnia

Women in CBT group had greater reductions in insomnia severity, were likely to have remission

pregnant woman

TUESDAY, April 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective nonpharmacologic treatment for insomnia during pregnancy, according to a study published online April 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Rachel Manber, Ph.D., from Stanford University in California, and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia during pregnancy among women (18 to 32 weeks of gestation) randomly assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (89 women) or a control intervention consisting of imagery exercises that paired patient-identified distressing nighttime experiences with patient-identified neutral images (90 women).

The researchers found that women assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia experienced significantly greater reductions in insomnia severity. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the women in the cognitive behavioral therapy group achieved remission of insomnia versus 52 percent in the control group. Further, remission was achieved faster with cognitive behavioral therapy versus control (31 days versus 48 days). Last, there was a significantly greater reduction in self-reported but not objective total wake time with cognitive behavioral therapy as well as a small but significantly greater decline in Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores versus the control group.

"We hope that our findings will lead to increased use of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia among pregnant women through referrals to trained therapists," the authors write.

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