Maternal and Neonatal Morbidities Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Complicating Pregnancy

There is evidence that women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during pregnancy are at an increased risk for preterm delivery and experience more complications than women who go through pregnancy without OSA.

This article from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports the findings of a retrospective cohort study of women with OSA. For comparison, researchers created two separate cohorts of obese and normal-weight pregnant women without OSA. Women in the study received prenatal care at an urban tertiary care center between January 2000 and December 2008.

Determining the effects of OSA on pregnant women was the main purpose of this study. Therefore, the authors describe several outcomes resulting from OSA: endometritis, preeclampsia, neonatal morbidity, and a composite outcome. The study employed the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) to gauge the severity of sleep apnea; the AHI measures the frequency of respiratory events during sleep. The authors briefly consider the potential role of OSA in the impairment of tissue oxygen delivery, which can lead to wound complications.

Key Findings:

  • OSA was moderate or severe in 36 of 57 (63%) women.
  • Women with OSA had more occurrences of preterm delivery, cesarean delivery and maternal morbidities.
  • Women in the OSA cohort had significantly higher rates of chronic hypertension and diabetes.

This retrospective study examined adverse pregnancy outcomes that occur as a result of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The authors found a link between OSA and an increased risk of preterm deliveries and maternal complications. The small cohort size and a high prevalence of comorbid conditions among the women with OSA are possible limitations of the study.