Doctors and scientists have known for a long time that a pregnant woman having trouble breathing during sleep can cause complications. But figuring out how it affects the new babies has been a bit tricky. Now, a new study in the American Journal of Perinatology has given us some important clues.
Researchers led by Dr. Arlin Delgado from the University of South Florida looked at the sleep patterns of over 2,100 pregnant women. They measured if these moms had trouble breathing during sleep, like snoring or sleep apnea. Specifically, they used the apnea-hypopnea index to identify which women were experiencing sleep-disordered breathing, meaning they had five or more apneic episodes (complete cessation of breathing) or hypopneas (slowed breathing).
They then watched the babies after they were born to see if they had any health issues. And the results are interesting:
Ultimately, researchers found that babies born to mothers who showed signs of sleep-disordered breathing in early pregnancy shared a similarly low risk of adverse health outcomes to those whose mothers showed no signs of SDB. Meanwhile, babies born to moms who developed sleep-disordered breathing mid-pregnancy had a 42 percent higher risk of adverse health outcomes and neonatal death.
Bottom line: suffering from sleep apnea while pregnant can be risky, but developing it midway through pregnancy is especially dangerous for the baby.
If you’re pregnant and you think you might be experiencing obstructive sleep apnea, contact us to discuss a sleep study.
Source: How Sleep Apnea and Snoring During Pregnancy Might Affect Newborns’ Health: New Research (Sleepopolis)