Objective: To describe changes in women's sleep patterns from prepregnancy to postpartum.
Methods: Polysomnography was done in women's homes for 2 consecutive nights. Forty-five women were studied during the follicular and luteal phases of their menstrual cycles, and 33 conceived and were studied during each trimester of pregnancy. Twenty-nine were studied at 1 and 3 months postpartum.
Results: Compared with prepregnant sleep characteristics, significant changes in sleep patterns were evident by 11-12 weeks' gestation, with a significant increase in total sleep time but less deep sleep and more awakening during sleep. By the third month postpartum, there was improvement in sleep characteristics; however, sleep efficiency remained significantly lower than baseline prepregnancy values.
Conclusion: Sleep disturbance was greatest during the first postpartum month, particularly for first-time mothers.