A good night's sleep is generally considered an essential ingredient for a healthy pregnancy and indeed a healthy baby; after all, sleep can support a baby's growth and development. However, new research has revealed that pregnant women who experience sleep disturbances could have an increased chance of premature birth. In a study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, mothers-to-be in the first 14 to 16 weeks of their pregnancy who suffered from sleep disturbances in their double beds were found to be most affected by the issue. This risk was found to increase by 25 per cent with every one-point increase on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and decreased by 18 per cent in the later stages of the pregnancy. Researchers found that greater inflammation in the body - a result of poor quality sleep - could possibly activate the processes associated with premature childbirth. In addition, sleep disruption in combination with stress was also found to have the potential to trigger the same processes.