Mummies Need Their Sleep

Gestational diabetes and preterm birth associated with sleep apnea

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Any woman who has been pregnant knows how exhausting it is, and she may find it hard to get adequate sleep. A recent data review by Northwestern University in Chicago indicates that sleep apnea in pregnant women may indicate gestational diabetes and pre-term birth.

Principal investigator Dr. Francesca L. Facco, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago reports her findings indicate that moderate to severe sleep apnea during pregnancy is linked to poor pregnancy outcomes, including gestational diabetes and pre-term birth. It isn't clear if this relationship remains the same if one removes the obesity issue from the equation.

"Consult your doctor regarding sleep difficulties during pregnancy."

Facco observes that if this relationship is confirmed, she would like to encourage further studies to understand the role of treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in pregnancy.

For this particular study, Facco and her team identified 150 women who were evaluated for sleep apnea in addition to giving birth from 2000 to 2009. Of these 150 women, 87 percent were either overweight or obese at delivery with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more.

72 percent of these women had their sleep study done three years prior to delivery. The data gathered was then compared to three pregnancy outcomes: gestational diabetes, early preterm birth of 34 weeks or less and hypertension.

There are more than 2,200 sleep apnea clinics available in the U.S. The usual course of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which requires the patient to wear a mask to provide a steady stream of air during sleep.

If women do wear an air mask during sleep, it may cut down on the incidence of pregnancy as well.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 13, 2011
Last Updated:
June 14, 2011