Objectives: A survey of the effects of pregnancy on parasomnias.
Material and methods: In an area of a central hospital and the maternity care units in the nearby rural community, women were interviewed during and after their pregnancy with a series of five questionnaires to assess the frequency of their parasomnias. The first questionnaire covered the 3 months before becoming pregnant, the next three the trimesters of pregnancy and the last one the 3 months after delivery. Altogether 325 mothers filled all the five questionnaires and constitute the study group.
Results: The total number of parasomnias declined (P < 0.001) during pregnancy and even more among the primiparas than among the multiparas (difference until third trimester, P=0.02). Among various parasomnias reported, sleep talking and sleepwalking decreased from the prepregnant period to the second trimester (22.8 vs 12.6%, change P=0.003), and the reported sleep starts also diminished from the prepregnant time to the first trimester (78.5 vs 63.1%, P < 0.001), but these phenomena did not change further during the follow-up. Altogether 55.7% of the women reported having nightmares 3 months before the pregnancy, and 47.7, 49.5, 41.2 and 40.3% (change from the prepregnant period, P < 0.001), respectively, at first, second and third trimester and after the delivery. Reported hypnagogic hallucinations decreased from the prepregnant time to the first trimester (9.8 vs 6.5%, P=0.027), but returned thereafter to the previous level. During the prepregnant period, 25.8% of the women reported bruxism and only 19.9% during the first trimester (P=0.009). Though the prevalence of sleep paralysis decreased during the first trimester of pregnancy, it was the only parasomnia that increased during later pregnancy (from 5.7 to 13.3% in the second trimester, P < 0.013).
Conclusions: The reported frequency of most parasomnias decreases during pregnancy and even more in primiparas than multiparas.