Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes 7x More Likely to Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

A 2013 study of pregnant women showed that those with gestational diabetes were 7 times more likely to also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

In August 2013, researchers conducted overnight polysomnography (a sleep study) on 45 women. 15 of the women were pregnant AND had gestational diabetes, 15 women were pregnant and did NOT have diabetes and 15 women were not pregnant and did NOT have diabetes.

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy & Metabolism:

75% of the pregnant women with gestational diabetes ALSO suffered from obstructive sleep apnea

Previous research has shown that reduced sleep, fragmented sleep and shorter periods of deep sleep (all symptoms of sleep apnea) can increase the risk for sleep apnea. This recent study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but the results are startling.

Sleep apnea in pregnancy can be very serious, leading to higher neonatal intensive care unit admissions after delivery.  Fox News reports that the percentage of newborns admitted to the NICU was 46 percent for mothers with sleep apnea, and only 18 percent for those without.

Siman Reutrakul, MD, who conducted the research at RUSH University Medical Center warns:

“Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes should be considered for evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, especially if other risk factors such as hypertension or obesity are present, and women already diagnosed with sleep apnea should be monitored for signs of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.”

Pregnant women at risk for sleep apnea should speak with their doctors and consider a sleep study. 

Request a Sleep Study.


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