(HealthDay News) – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with perinatal complications in obese pregnant women, according to a study published online Sept 21 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Judette Louis, MD, MPH, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues screened 175 pregnant women for OSA with a portable home monitor. Overnight sleep studies were manually scored using American Academy of Sleep Medicine diagnostic criteria, with an apnea hypopnea index of ≥5 meeting OSA criteria.

The researchers found that OSA prevalence was 15.4% (13 mild, nine moderate, five severe). The OSA group had a significantly higher mean BMI (46.8 ± 12.2 vs. 38.1 ± 7.5kg/m²) and significantly more chronic hypertension (55.6 vs. 32.4%). There were two cases of maternal death: one amniotic fluid embolus (no-OSA group) and one cardiac arrest (intraoperative at cesarean delivery; OSA group). In the no-OSA group there was one previable birth, and two stillbirths occurred. OSA was associated with significantly more frequent cesarean delivery (65.4 vs. 32.8%), preeclampsia (42.3 vs. 16.9%), and neonatal intensive care unit admission (46.1 vs. 17.8%). OSA (odds ratio, 3.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–11.3) was associated with development of preeclampsia, after adjusting for other variables.

“Obstructive sleep apnea among obese pregnant women is associated with more frequent preeclampsia, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and cesarean delivery,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to companies involved in research and medical devices for sleep and breathing disorders.

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