Snoring and Pregnant? Time to get evaluated.

Pregnancy is associated with sleeping disorders such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome, habitual snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness. OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is the result of airways narrowing which leads to respiratory disruptions, intermittent hypoxia, and sleep fragmentation. It is commonly characterized by snoring, breathing cessation, and daytime sleepiness.

OSA is common in the United States and often remains undiagnosed. As pregnancy progresses, women are at risk for developing new OSA. Over 10 percent of first-trimester pregnant woman suffer from OSA, but by the third trimester, over 26 percent have been diagnosed.

Although the causes for increased occurrence of OSA during pregnancy are the result of normal physiological changes, it has also been associated with weight gain, edema, and hyperemia, all of which can cause narrowing of the upper airways. Women are therefore at risk for developing OSA prior to or during pregnancy.

In pregnant women, OSA has been associated with hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Women with OSA during pregnancy have odds of in-hospital mortality five times higher than controls. These women also have a higher risk of future cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, women with preeclampsia have a significantly lower level of nighttime fetal movement. When these women use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to increase nighttime airflow and ease breathing, the nighttime fetal movements improved.