Exploring the relationship between sunlight exposure, psychological health, and gestational weight gain: a prospective observational study

Satvinder Kaur, Ee Yin Kok, Nor Aini Jamil, Susy K. Sebayang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Gestational weight gain (GWG) is influenced by various factors during pregnancy. This study attempts to explore the relationship between environmental factors i.e., sunlight exposure and psychological health i.e. psychological well-being and sleep quality during pregnancy with total gestational weight gain. Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted in government maternity clinics in Kuala Lumpur. Pregnant women aged 19–39 years without comorbidities were recruited during second trimester and followed up until birth. The participants were required to wear a UVB dosimeter for a total of three consecutive days (2 weekdays and 1 weekend) to determine sunlight exposure (SED) during their second trimester. The PSQI and DASS-21 were used to determine sleep quality and psychological wellbeing, respectively. GWG data were collected from clinic health records. The association of sun exposure and psychological health with total GWG was determined using multiple linear regression. Results: A total of 73 pregnant women aged 27.9 ± 3.3 years were included in the analysis. The prevalence of pregnant women exhibiting stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms was 11%, 40%, and 16% respectively. The global PSQI median score was 5 (IQR = 3), with 59% having poor sleep quality. Median sleep duration was 7 h (IQR = 2) while median sleep efficiency was 92% (IQR = 14). The median SED was 0.04 (IQR = 0.09), with 51% of them being under the 50th percentile. The majority had adequate GWG (58%). Sleep parameters were not found to be correlated with total GWG except for sleep latency (ρ = -0.356, p = 0.002). Sunlight exposure was found to have no significant relationship with sleep and total GWG. Adjusted multiple linear regression showed that greater depression is associated with higher total GWG (β = 0.239, p = 0.039) while controlling for sleep quality. Conclusion: Depression was associated with total GWG when sleep quality was controlled for while sunlight exposure had no significant association with GWG. Future studies should study the complex relationship between factors of mental health, sleep, and weight gain during pregnancy. Healthcare providers may be better equipped to develop interventions aimed to prevent negative maternal and fetal health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Depression
  • Gestational weight gain
  • Maternal health
  • Pregnant women
  • Sleep quality
  • Sunlight exposure


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