Common sleep disorders: management strategies and pregnancy outcomes

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013 Jul-Aug;58(4):368-77. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12004. Epub 2013 Jul 15.


Sleep disorders, prevalent in industrialized countries, are associated with adverse health outcomes such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Disturbed sleep during pregnancy is frequently overlooked by health care providers, yet recent studies suggest there is an association between sleep disorders and adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preeclampsia, elevated serum glucose, depression, prolonged labor, and cesarean birth. Growing evidence indicates that the recognition and management of prenatal sleep disorders may minimize adverse pregnancy outcomes and improve maternal and fetal well-being. This focused review of prenatal sleep disturbance literature suggests there are 3 main sleep disorders of interest: breathing-related sleep disorders (ie, habitual snoring and obstructive sleep apnea), restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. These sleep disorders are common in pregnancy and have maternal and fetal consequences if left untreated. This article describes sleep disorders of pregnancy, elucidates their relationship with maternal and neonatal outcomes, and presents current evidence regarding diagnostic and management strategies.

Keywords: breathing-related sleep disorder; insomnia; pregnancy; pregnancy outcomes; restless legs syndrome; sleep; sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / complications
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / complications
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Snoring / complications
  • Snoring / therapy*