ID 2373: Investigation of the Relationship Between Sleep and Preterm Birth Using Wearable Device Data

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Master’s Thesis

Preterm birth is defined as birth before completed 37 weeks of gestation (pregnancy weeks). It accounts for 75% of perinatal mortality (dying during or related to the course pregnancy). It is the leading cause of perinatal morbidity worldwide. Around 10% of neonates (babys) are born preterm. Previous research discovered that poor sleep may be a contributing factor to preterm birth.

In our SMART Start project, we accompany up to 1000 pregnant women using wearable devices. This includes a “smart” sleep mattress that tracks different sleep parameters (in-bed/out-of-bed time, sleep stages, sleep time, heart rate,…).

The aim of this thesis is to examine how sleep changes throughout pregnancy and whether there is a relation to preterm birth.


  • Conducting a comprehensive literature review around the areas of preterm birth and poor sleep during pregnancy.
  • General analysis of sleep patterns during pregnancy.
  • Assessment of relationship between sleep and outcome parameters such as preterm birth.


  • Basic knowledge in biomedical signal processing and big data handling using Python
  • Strong interest in mobile health topics and wearable devices


Michael Nissen, M. Sc.

Researcher & PhD Candidate

Katharina Jäger, M. Sc.

Researcher & PhD Candidate