Pregnant women who snore at higher risk for C-sections, delivering smaller babies

October 31, 2013

Snoring during pregnancy may be bad for the new baby's health, according to research from the University of Michigan Health System.

Moms who snored three or more nights a week had a higher risk of poor delivery outcomes – including Cesarean births and delivering smaller – according to the research that appears in scientific journal Sleep. The study is believed to be the largest of its kind to link maternal to baby health by following moms from pregnancy through delivery.

Chronic snorers (moms who snored before and during pregnancy) are two thirds more likely to have a baby that's born below the tenth percentile for babies of the same gestational age (smaller than 90 percent of other babies the same gestation) compared to non-snorers. They are also more than twice as likely to need an elective C-section, researchers found.

"There has been great interest in the implications of snoring during pregnancy and how it affects maternal health but there is little data on how it may impact the health of the baby," says lead author Louise O'Brien, Ph.D., M.S., associate professor at U-M's Sleep Disorders Center in the Department of Neurology and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the U-M Medical School.

"We've found that chronic snoring is associated with both smaller babies and C-sections, even after we accounted for other risk factors. This suggests that we have a window of opportunity to screen pregnant women for breathing problems during sleep that may put them at risk of poor delivery outcomes."

Timing of snoring patterns also made a difference in outcomes, researchers found. Chronic snorers who snored before and during pregnancy had the highest risks, being more likely to have smaller babies and elective C-sections. Meanwhile, those who started snoring only during pregnancy had higher risk of both elective and emergency C-sections than women who did not snore.

The study included 1,673 who were recruited from prenatal clinics at U-M between 2007 and 2010, with 35 percent of the women reporting habitual snoring.

Snoring is a key sign of obstructive , a sleep-related breathing problem that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and has already been associated with serious, expensive health conditions. The new research comes a year after another study led by O'Brien showed that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at high risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

Pregnant women can be treated for obstructive sleep apnea using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). The method involves a machine worn during sleep that uses air pressure to keep the airways open.

"Millions of healthcare dollars are spent on operative deliveries, taking care of babies who are admitted to the NICU and treating secondary health problems that smaller babies are at risk for when grown," says O'Brien, who is also an associate research scientist in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

"If we can identify risks during that can be treated, such as obstructive sleep apnea, we can reduce the incidence of small babies, C-sections and possibly NICU admission that not only improve long term health benefits for newborns but also help keep costs down."

Explore further: Starting to snore during pregnancy could indicate risk for high blood pressure, study says

More information: Sleep, "Snoring during pregnancy and delivery outcomes: A Cohort Study," Vol.36, No.11, 2013.

Related Stories

Starting to snore during pregnancy could indicate risk for high blood pressure, study says

September 25, 2012
Women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at strong risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia, according to research from the University of Michigan.

Pregnant women's changing sleep patterns revealed

October 23, 2013
Nearly a third of pregnant Māori and non-Māori women report sleeping less than six hours in late stages of pregnancy, a study by Massey University sleep scientists has concluded.

Gestational diabetes tied to seven-fold increase in sleep apnea risk

August 20, 2013
Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are nearly seven times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other pregnant women, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal ...

Is that sleepiness during pregnancy normal or a sign of sleep apnea?

February 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Most pregnant women complain of being tired. Some of them however, could be suffering more than normal fatigue associated with their pregnancy; they may have developed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a ...

Sleep apnea in obese pregnancy women linked to poor maternal and neonatal outcomes

September 20, 2012
The newborns of obese pregnant women suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit than those born to obese mothers without the sleep disorder, reports a study published ...

Recommended for you

Anti-nausea drug could help treat sleep apnea

June 6, 2017
An old pharmaceutical product may be a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research presented today by University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University scientists at the SLEEP 2017 annual ...

New disposable, wearable patch found to effectively detect sleep apnea

June 4, 2017
Results of a definitive clinical trial show that a new, disposable diagnostic patch effectively detects obstructive sleep apnea across all severity levels.

Childhood sleep apnoea is common but hard to diagnose

April 28, 2017
The cessation of breathing during sleep caused by enlarged tonsils is common in preschool-age children and can cause serious complications, but the methods normally used to diagnose the condition are subjective and unreliable. ...

Curbing sleep apnea might mean fewer night trips to bathroom

March 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Millions of Americans battle bothersome nighttime conditions, such as sleep apnea or the need to get up frequently to urinate.

Untreated sleep apnea in children can harm brain cells tied to cognition and mood

March 17, 2017
A study comparing children between 7 and 11 years of age who have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea to children the same age who slept normally, found significant reductions of gray matter - brain cells involved ...

Dietary supplement derived from tree bark shows promise for treating obstructive sleep apnea

February 24, 2017
Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes people to briefly stop breathing while asleep, affects an estimated 5 percent of the population, not including the many more who don't even realize they suffer from the disorder.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tom_Hennessy
not rated yet Oct 31, 2013
Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea and sleep apnea is a sign of erythrocytosis / too many red blood cells. Preeclampsia, a sign of sleep apnea has been shown to be nonexistent in those women whose hemoglobin is kept at the lower end of anemia, 11 , whereas preeclampsia risk rises as hemoglobin rises above 11. So since apnea causes increased red blood cells and preeclampsia and preeclampsia is caused by increased red blood cells, one might think addressing increased hemoglobin would be appropriate in order to reduce pregnancy complication risk.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.