Prenatal Sleep Focus Group Study

Below is a description of our focus group findings. Links to the scientific article describing the focus groups are to the right.

Why did we do this study?

  • Many pregnant people have problems sleeping, often due to physical discomfort and having a busy mind. However, there is little research on how to improve prenatal sleep, and most of this research doesn’t focus on physical discomfort and having a busy mind.
  • Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to help coping with discomfort and quieting a busy mind.  Because of this, we thought that a mindfulness-based intervention could help pregnant people cope with the physical discomfort and worries that tend to disturb their sleep.
  • Before developing our mindfulness-based intervention, we wanted to learn more about pregnant people’s experiences with poor sleep and what they would want our program to look like. To do this, we conducted focus groups and interviews with pregnant and postpartum people who experienced poor sleep during pregnancy.
  • In this paper, we describe the main themes and takeaways that came up during these focus groups and interviews.

What was involved in the study?

  • Pregnant participants completed a focus group with other pregnant participants. Postpartum participants completed an interview with Dr. Felder. 
  • Participants were asked about sleep during pregnancy, their interest in a mindfulnes program for improving sleep during pregnancy, what format they would want the program delivered in, and what content they would want the program to address. 

Who participated?

  • There were 15 participants in this study (12 were pregnant, 3 were postpartum).
  • All participants were based in the Bay Area.

What did we find?

  • Participants were frustrated that their sleep problems during pregnancy were ignored and dismissed, and that it was hard to find helpful information about how to improve sleep.
  • Participants were interested in a group mindfulness program for improving sleep during pregnancy, and liked the idea of a program that involved both in-person and online sessions. (Note that we collected the majority of our data prior to COVID.)
  • Participants wanted information about sleep during pregnancy and tools for improving their sleep. Most participants preferred a program focused mainly on sleep, as opposed to one focused on childbirth, parenting, and sleep.

Why is this important?

  • These findings suggest that sleep disturbance is a major concern during pregnancy.
  • A mindfulness program could improve sleep during pregnancy and meet needs that are often neglected.

What’s next?

  • Based on the results from this study, we are testing an 8-week online mindfulness program for improving sleep during pregnancy in a sample of 50 pregnant people.


  • We are so grateful for the time our participants spent sharing their experiences and opinons with us.
  • We believe that because of them, this research will improve the lives of those struggling with sleep problems during pregnancy.