I’m pregnant. What can I expect about my sleep?
Many women experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy, but this does not mean that every woman will have poor sleep when pregnant. You may end up being one of the lucky ones, although most women experience changes in their sleep.
Studies that have examined sleep during pregnancy found that sleep disturbances can occur at any time of pregnancy, with the most noticeable sleep disturbances occurring during the third trimester (toward the end of the pregnancy). The most common sleep disturbances are insomnia symptoms (difficulties falling asleep, frequent night wakings, and early morning awakening), not getting enough sleep, sleep-disordered breathing (for example, snoring), and restless legs syndrome. Although most studies are based on self-report by women, studies that use objective sleep measures (like overnight sleep studies) find that in comparison to women who are not pregnant, pregnant women have lower sleep efficiency (sleep less when they’re in bed), experience more frequent and longer night-wakings, and spend more time in light sleep and less time in deep sleep.
Most women attribute their sleep disruptions to physical discomfort related to pregnancy factors. For instance, they may describe difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position or a more frequent need to urinate. However, these changes may be related to the development of a physiological sleep disorder such as breathing disorders specific to sleep or to physiological factors such as endocrine changes. Sleep disruptions can also be related to psychological factors such as disturbing or stressful thoughts related the transition to parenthood.
If you are experiencing a sleep problem during your pregnancy, be sure to bring it up with your doctor or whomever is managing your health during your pregnancy.
About Dr. Liat Tikotzky