Half of hypertensive pregnant women who snore and one quarter of those who do not snore have unrecognized obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), suggesting such women should be tested for this condition. Findings from this cohort study were published online May 29 in BJOG.
OSA is associated with reduced nocturnal blood oxygen levels and other morbidity. The prevalence of OSA increases during pregnancy, affecting up to one third of women by the third trimester.
“We know that habitual snoring is linked with poor pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child, including increased risk of C-sections and smaller babies,” lead author Louise O’Brien, PhD, associate professor, Sleep Disorders Center and Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, said in a news release. “Our findings show that a substantial proportion of hypertensive pregnant women have [OSA] and that habitual snoring may be one of the most telling signs to identify this risk early in order to improve health outcomes.”
The study goal was to examine the prevalence of OSA among women with and without hypertensive disorders of pregnancy followed-up at obstetric clinics at an academic medical center. Pregnant women who were normotensive and those with hypertensive disorders (chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia) completed a questionnaire regarding habitual snoring. They also underwent overnight ambulatory polysomnography to determine the presence and severity of OSA.