How do I know if my disrupted sleep is normal for pregnancy?

I am in the third trimester of my pregnancy and have been sleeping poorly. I frequently wake up to urinate at night and my husband says I breathe more shallowly when I am asleep. How do I know if my disrupted sleep is normal for my pregnancy or if it is a more serious issue? If I am pregnant is it safe to do a polysomnography test?

Doctors Answers (2)

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 6/6/2014 2

It is safe to have a sleep study while pregnant. You should always speak with your obstetrician regarding any pregnancy-related issues. However, if you do have sleep apnea and oxygen desaturations during the night, that cannot be good for you or your baby. Ask your husband to notice if you are snoring and stopping breathing. Also, hopefully he can tell you if you had this problem prior to your pregnancy. Good luck to you and your family.

Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D.
Answered on: 6/6/2014 2

It is common for women to experience sleep difficulties during pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters. During this time, sleep may become more fragmented and mothers-to-be may report overall poor quality sleep. Shallow breathing also is common. The weight gain during pregnancy may make it more effortful to breathe, and the fetus ma place additional burden on respiratory muscles or limit the space available for lungs to expand. Weight gain during pregnancy is a risk factor for sleep apnea, and over one quarter of women have been shown to have sleep apnea during the third trimester. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea such as respiratory pauses during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headache, or other symptoms, or if your health profile changes as pregnancy progresses (e.g., perhaps developing pregnancy-related hypertension), you should speak with your doctor so that an appropriate evaluation can be conducted. If polysomnography (overnight sleep testing) is required, you should seek a referral to an accredited sleep disorders Center. Polysomnographic testing is safe during pregnancy, although you may find it especially uncomfortable to sleep away from familiar surroundings and loved ones as your pregnancy progresses.