Snoring And Apnoea Blog

Sleep Disorders & Pregnancy Risks

Posted on Mon, Sep 09, 2013

According to research on the pooled results from a number of recent studies, gestational hypertension and diabetes is much more common in women who experience sleep apnoea during pregnancy.

Gestational hypertension was found more than twice as often in women with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) conditions and gestational diabetes almost twice as often, compared against women without SDB during pregnancy. 

<a href="">Baby image created by Onlyyouqj -</a>

The pooled results of the studies also suggest low-birth-weight infants might be more common among women with sleep apnoea during pregnancy, according to Dr Sushmita Pamidi of McGill University in Montreal, when reporting to the American Thoracic Society international conference.


As many as a third of women report snoring during the third trimester of pregnancy. Common explanations include weight gain, oedema (swelling and fluid retention) and hormonal influences. 

Dr Pamidi and his colleagues undertook a thorough review of 31 previous studies to determine whether there was a link between SDB and pregnancy outcomes. All studies found an adverse link between sleep apnoea and gestational hypertension, sleep apnoea and gestational diabetes and, to a lesser extent, sleep apnoea and low birth weights. 

According to Dr Pamidi, "I think we have learned that there are associations between sleep apnea and gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension, and, to a smaller degree, perhaps to low-birth-weight infants."   He went on to point out, "The main limitation is that most of the studies are small.  Nonetheless, we were able to find a signal, which is a good impetus for having larger trials and bigger cohort studies.”

Tags: sleep apnoea, Pregnancy

Snoring And Pregnancy Bad For Mother And Child

Posted on Wed, Sep 26, 2012

Snoring during pregnancy is surprisingly common, although the physiological reason explaining why a woman would start snoring during pregnancy is unclear.  The most commonly held theory is that the sleep disordered breathing is as a result of the weight gain which often accompanies pregnancy. 

Regardless of the reason, the problem is that snoring during pregnancy may be a sign of sleep disordered breathing conditions which put women at risk for high blood pressure.  According to a new study, this is a potentially serious complication for the mother and baby.

The study, done at the University of Michigan's Sleep Disorders Center, monitored more than 1,700 pregnant women who were at least 28 weeks pregnant.   Among those whose snoring began during pregnancy, about 10 percent had pregnancy-related hypertension, compared with 4.5 percent of those who did not snore.

In addition, 13 percent of those whose snoring began during pregnancy had preeclampsia, compared with 8 percent of those who did not snore.  High blood pressure in pregnancy is linked with an increased risk of premature birth and smaller babies.

Any pause or obstruction in breathing during sleep increases the activity of the nervous system, which in turn increases blood pressure, said Professor Julie O'Brien, the research leader.

The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect blood pressure, such as the mother's age, race, smoking habits and weight gain in pregnancy.

The researchers estimate that close to 19 percent of pregnancy-related high blood pressure cases, and 11 percent of preeclampsia cases, could be helped by treating any sleep disordered breathing.

A separate study published earlier this month found that babies born to women with sleep apnea were at increased risk for admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.

"If sleep apnea really is playing a role in these outcomes, then this is a clear opportunity that we can intervene and hopefully improve some of those pregnancy outcomes," O'Brien said.

Pregnancy, in fact any weight gain, is known to put people at risk for breathing problems during sleep, including snoring, the researchers said. Earlier studies have also linked breathing problems in sleep to an increased risk of high blood pressure in the general population.

O'Brien and colleagues are now conducting a study to see if treating breathing problems with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) reduces high blood pressure in pregnant women.

The new study was published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Tags: snoring, Pregnancy, hypertension, preeclampsia

Snoring & Pregnancy

Posted on Thu, Dec 02, 2010

As if women didn’t have enough to deal with while pregnant, numerous researchers are now suggesting that snoring and sleep apnoea might be an unwelcome consequence of the pregnancy. Apparently the change in oestrogen levels, particularly during the later stages of the pregnancy, results in greater relaxation of the neck muscles. This alone is enough to cause snoring or sleep apnoea – and the severity of the condition is normally exacerbated if the woman puts on weight during the pregnancy, because the the neck, throat and tongue will often be where some of the fat accumulates. Many people think snoring is a “normal” part of pregnancy – but this can only be assumed if the snoring is light, and occurs only in the last month of gestation. Snoring in the first or second trimester should be investigated immediately because it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apneoa (OSA). OSA is when the sufferer’s airway closes and stops them from breathing. In severe cases this can happen more than 30 times per hour throughout the night. Not surprisingly, the disrupted breathing results in poor quality sleep and frequent arousals … and, more seriously, reduced blood oxygen levels. This is potentially harmful for the mother and the baby. If excessive snoring occurs during pregnancy, a physician’s advice and diagnostic sleep study should be sought because the consequences of an untreated condition could be devastating.

Tags: snoring, apnoea, Pregnancy