Sleep Disturbances During Pregnancy


      To assess sleep patterns and prevalence of sleep disturbances during pregnancy.


      Cross-sectional design; prospective questionnaire.


      Outpatient, private obstetric clinic.


      127 consecutive patients, with women evaluated at one of four points in pregnancy, 8–12 weeks (n=37), 18–22 weeks (n=28), 25–28 weeks (n=24), and 35–38 weeks (n=38).

      Main Outcome Measure

      Questionnaire of sleep habits and sleep disturbances.


      A large percentage of the women experienced sleep disturbances during pregnancy, These problems included frequent night wakings, difficulty falling asleep, and symptoms of sleep apnea. Few differences in sleep patterns were found across pregnancy, although women were found to sleep more and nap more by the end of pregnancy.


      Sleep disturbances are common during pregnancy, especially late in pregnancy.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      AWHONN Member Login
      AWHONN Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features

      Purchase one-time access:

      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Babkoff H.
        • Weller A.
        • Lavidor M.
        A comparison of prospective and retrospective assessments of sleep.
        Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 1996; 49: 455-460
        • Bonnet M.H.
        Cognitive effects of sleep and sleep fragmentation.
        Sleep. 1993; 16: 65-67
        • Brunner D.P.
        • Munch M.
        • Biedermann K.
        • Huch R.
        • Huch A.
        • Borbely A.A.
        Changes in sleep and sleep electroencephalogram during pregnancy.
        Sleep. 1994; 17: 576-582
        • Charbonneau M.
        • Falcone T.
        • Cosio M.G.
        • Levy R.D.
        Obstructive sleep apnea during pregnancy: Therapy and implications for fetal health.
        American Review of Respiratory Disease. 1991; 144: 461-463
        • Dement W.C.
        Report of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research.
        National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, Washington, DC1993
        • Deming L.
        • Zhenyun W.
        • Daosheng S.
        • Shanxun L.
        The relationship of sleep to learning and memory.
        International Journal of Mental Health. 1991; 20: 41-47
        • Driver H.S.
        • Shapiro C.M.
        A longitudinal study of sleep stages in young women during pregnancy and postpartum.
        Sleep. 1992; 15: 449-453
        • Feinsilver S.H.
        • Hertz G.
        Respiration during sleep in pregnancy.
        Clinics in Chest Medicine. 1992; 13: 637-644
        • Goodman J.D.S.
        • Brodie C.
        • Ayida G.
        Restless leg syndrome in pregnancy.
        British Medical Journal. 1988; 297: 1101-1102
        • Gupta M.A.
        • Schork N.J.
        • Gay C.
        Nocturnal leg cramps of pregnancy: A prospective study of clinical features.
        Sleep Research. 1992; 21: 294
        • Hastie S.J.
        • Prowse K.
        • Perks W.H.
        • Atkins J.
        • Blunt V.A.W.
        Obstructive sleep apnoea during pregnancy requiring tracheotomy.
        Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1989; 29: 365-367
        • Hening W.
        • Allen R.
        • Earley C.
        • Kushida C.
        • Picchietti D.
        • Silber M.
        The treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder.
        Sleep. 1999; 22: 970-999
        • Hertz G.
        Sleep and pregnancy.
        in: Pressman M.R. Orr W.C. Understanding sleep: The evaluation and treatment of sleep disorders. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC1997
        • Hertz G.
        • Fast A.
        • Feinsilver S.H.
        • Albertario C.L.
        • Schulman H.
        • Fein A.M.
        Sleep in normal late pregnancy.
        Sleep. 1992; 15: 246-251
        • Johns M.W.
        A new method for measuring daytime sleepiness: The Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
        Sleep. 1991; 14: 540-545
        • Karacan I.
        • Heine W.
        • Agnew H.W.
        • Williams R.L.
        • Webb W.B.
        • Ross J.J.
        Characteristics of sleep patterns during late pregnancy and the post-partum periods.
        American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1968; 101: 579-586
        • Mellinger G.D.
        • Balter M.B.
        • Uhlenhut E.H.
        Insomnia and its treatment: Prevalence and correlates.
        Archives of General Psychiatry. 1985; 42: 225-232
        • Mullington J.
        • Spielman A.
        • Well R.
        • Hoffman R.
        Subjective estimation of nocturnal sleep length and stability of sleep patterns. A 42-night sleep study.
        Sleep Research. 1988; 17: 342
        • Schutte S.
        • Del Conte A.
        • Doghramji K.
        • Gallagher K.
        • Gallagher E.
        • Oliver R.
        • Rose C.
        • Breuninger W.
        • De Los Santos L.
        • Youakim J.
        Snoring during pregnancy and its impact on fetal outcome.
        Sleep Research. 1994; 23: 325
        • Schutte S.
        • Del Conte A.
        • Gross A.
        • Segal J.
        • Cater J.
        • Bustraan S.
        • Doghramji K.
        • Youakim J.
        Self reported snoring and sleep in high risk pregnancies.
        Sleep Research. 1995; 24: 342
        • Schweiger M.S.
        Sleep disturbance in pregnancy.
        American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1972; 114: 879-882
        • Spinweber C.L.
        • Kuo T.F.
        Effects of pregnancy on sleep of both wives and husbands.
        Sleep Research. 1993; 22: 278
        • Suzuki S.
        • Dennerstein L.
        • Greenwood K.M.
        • Armstrong S.M.
        • Satohisa E.
        Sleeping patterns during pregnancy in Japanese women.
        Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, IS. 1994; 19–25
        • Young T.
        • Palta M.
        • Dempsey J.
        • Skatrud J.
        • Weber S.
        • Bedr S.
        The occurrence of sleep disordered breathing among middle-aged adults.
        New England journal of Medicine. 1993; 328: 1230-1235