Sleep Apnoea And Pregnancy = Poor Neonatal Outcomes

Fri, Sep 21, 2012

Pregnant women with sleep apnoea have a much higher chance of adverse pregnancy outcomes, says a new report.

The study, based on a study of 175 pregnant women was published today in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Sleep apnoea inthese women was also associated with higher rates of preeclampsia, particularly in obese pregnant women.  According to the researchers, "Our findings show that obstructive sleep apnoea can contribute to poor outcomes for both obese mothers and their babies."

The study's lead author Dr. Judette Louis, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida reports that women with sleep apnea were more likely to undergo a cesarean delivery and to develop preeclampsia.  Preeclampsia is a medical condition in which high blood pressure in pregnancy is associated with loss of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia continues to be one of the most common dangerous medical conditions for both mothers and babies.

The research also found that women with sleep apnoea gave birth to offspring who were more likely to be admitted to the natal intensive care unit (NICU).  Many of these admissions were due to respiratory distress. 

At least one in five women are obese when they become pregnant, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, according to research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Numerous studies have examined complications associated with obesity in pregnancy, including high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and cesarean deliveries, but sleep apnoea has been underdiagnosed and understudied in this population of women. 

This study suggests sleep apnoea must be treated to optimise the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and birth.