A longitudinal study of sleep stages in young women during pregnancy and postpartum

Sleep. 1992 Oct;15(5):449-53. doi: 10.1093/sleep/15.5.449.


We conducted a longitudinal polysomnographic study in five healthy primiparous subjects, whose sleep was first recorded between 8 and 16 weeks of gestation, then every 2 months until parturition and at 1 month postpartum. The first 6 hours of sleep were used for statistical analysis. In contrast to previous studies, we found no reduction in stage 4 sleep with pregnancy. Slow-wave sleep (comprising stages 3 and 4), was significantly higher at 27-39 weeks of gestation than at 8-16 weeks, as predicted by the restorative theory of sleep. There was no significant difference in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time. When compared to a group of normal ovulating women, however, REM sleep time decreased during the last two months of pregnancy and, although there was no change in sleep onset latency, the time spent awake during the first six hours of sleep was increased. Future research into the effects of cortisol and progesterone is indicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Polysomnography
  • Postpartum Period / physiology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology