Pregnant Women with Sleep Apnea are FOUR TIMES more likely to suffer severe life-threatening conditions in childbirth
The Information About How Sleep Apnea Affects Pregnant Women and What You Need to Know
Here’s What You Need to Know
- Brown University researchers studied data on more than 1.5 million pregnancies
- They found the condition increased hospital stay length from 3 to 5 days
- It also increased the need for the ICU by 174%, and risk of preeclampsia by 122%
- Eclampsia risk (a severe preeclampsia that causes seizures) went up by 125%
Sleep apnea quadruples a woman’s risk of serious pregnancy complications, new research warns.
A study of more than 1.5 million pregnancies in the US found the disorder was directly linked to longer hospital stays and even admission to the ICU.
Affected women were 174 percent more likely to need intensive care for heart and lung conditions during or after childbirth, and tended to need a longer stay in hospital than unaffected women – five days compared to three.
They had an increased risk of pregnancy-related conditions, such as preeclampsia (up 122 percent) and eclampsia (125 percent), a severe form of preeclampsia that can lead to seizures.
And their risk of rare but severe conditions skyrocketed, including fluid-filled lungs, which increased by 406 percent, and congestive heart failure, which increased by 263 percent.
A study of more than 1.5 million pregnancies in the US found the disorder was directly linked to longer hospital stays and even admission to the ICU
HOW SLEEP APNEA INCREASES RISK OF PREGNANCY ISSUES
These figures show the increased risk of complications for pregnant women with obstructive sleep apnea (compared to those without).
ICU admission: 174 percent higher
Total hospital length of stay: 5 days (compared to the usual 3 days)
Hysterectomy: 126 percent higher
Cardiomyopathy: 259 percent
Congestive heart failure: 263 percent
Pulmonary edema: 406 percent
Preeclampsia: 122 percent
Eclampsia: 195 percent
Gestational diabetes: 52 percent
Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder which causes sufferers to stop breathing at random.
‘Given that pregnancy is a ‘window’ into future cardiovascular and metabolic health, OSA is a diagnosis worthy of investigation in pregnancy,’ said lead study author Dr Ghada Bourjeily, associate professor of medicine at Brown University.
‘Early intervention in these women, as well as in their children, may represent a great opportunity to offer treatment strategies that may offer long-term health benefits.’
The researchers analyzed the medical records of 1,577,636 pregnant women in the U.S. National Perinatal Information Center database from 2010 and 2014.
Of those women, 0.12 percent had been formally diagnosed with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).
Those with the diagnosis were typically older and more likely to be African American and smokers. They were also more likely to have pre-pregnancy hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
After adjusting for obesity and many other potential confounders, the researchers found that OSA independently increased the risk of complications.
In addition to the large sample size, Dr. Bourjeily said, study strengths included the diversity of the population and participating hospitals that enabled the researchers to identify a sample that is representative of the U.S. population.
‘This allowed us to demonstrate associations with rare medical outcomes, including hysterectomy and ICU admission, pulmonary edema, cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure that would have been more difficult to prove with prospective studies,’ she said.
To the researchers’ knowledge, no other study has reported on the association of OSA in pregnancy with hysterectomy and ICU admission.
Study limitations include not having information about whether OSA was being treated or not.
Lack of this information, along with the under-diagnosis of OSA generally, likely led to underestimating the association between OSA and other health problems, Dr. Bourjeily added.
The authors are now analyzing the association between OSA and birth outcomes and neonatal health and examining biological mechanisms underlying the association of OSA in pregnancy with adverse outcomes, as well as physiologic mechanisms that lead to the development of OSA in pregnancy.
***This is NOT Medical Advice Prescribed by a Doctor and must not be construed as such.