June 14, 2011

Sleep Apnea Could Increase Pregnancy Risk

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ About 1 in 15 Americans have sleep apnea, and according to this study sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Women with severe sleep apnea have the highest incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes. This increased prevalence was primarily driven by a higher incidence of gestational diabetes and early preterm birth.

"Our findings suggest that moderate to severe sleep-disordered breathing may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, particularly gestational diabetes and preterm birth," principal investigator Dr. Francesca L. Facco, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago, was quoted as saying.

"However, it is unclear if sleep-disordered breathing is a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes independent of obesity."

Facco and colleagues searched a medical records database and identified 150 women who had received a sleep evaluation and had given birth between 2000 and 2009. About 87 percent of the women were overweight or obese at the time of birth. Women with an apnea-hypopnea index of five to 14.9 breathing pauses per hour of sleep were considered to have mild to moderate sleep apnea, and those with an AHI of 15 or more were classified as having severe sleep apnea.

"Further studies, principally large prospective studies utilizing objective measures of sleep-disordered breathing, are needed to confirm this relationship, and to examine the interaction between sleep-disordered breathing and body mass index," said Facco. "If a relationship is confirmed, further studies would be needed to ascertain the role of treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in pregnancy."

SOURCE: SLEEP 2011, The 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC held in Minneapolis, Minn. On June 13, 2011