Objective: This study sought to characterize sleep patterns and sleep problems in a large sample of women across all months of pregnancy.
Methods: A total of 2427 women completed an Internet-based survey that included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale, vitality scale of the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Berlin questionnaire, International Restless Legs Syndrome (IRLS) question set, and a short version of the Pregnancy Symptoms Inventory (PSI).
Results: Across all months of pregnancy, women experienced poor sleep quality (76%), insufficient nighttime sleep (38%), and significant daytime sleepiness (49%). All women reported frequent nighttime awakenings (100%), and most women took daytime naps (78%). Symptoms of insomnia (57%), sleep-disordered breathing (19%), and restless legs syndrome (24%) were commonly endorsed, with no difference across the month of pregnancy for insomnia, sleep-disorder breathing, daytime sleepiness, or fatigue. In addition, high rates of pregnancy-related symptoms were found to disturb sleep, especially frequent urination (83%) and difficulty finding a comfortable sleep position (79%).
Conclusions: Women experience significant sleep disruption, inadequate sleep, and high rates of symptoms of sleep disorder throughout pregnancy. These results suggest that all women should be screened and treated for sleep disturbances throughout pregnancy, especially given the impact of inadequate sleep and sleep disorders on fetal, pregnancy, and postpartum outcomes.
Keywords: Pregnancy; Restless legs syndrome; Sleep; Sleep-disordered breathing; Sleepiness.
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