New-Onset Snoring Risk Factor for Pregnancy Complications

October 3, 2012

A large prospective study links onset of snoring in pregnancy with increased risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. The results, published in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, suggest that simply asking pregnant patients about snoring could result in better maternal and fetal outcomes.

A large prospective study links onset of snoring in pregnancy with increased risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. The results, published in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, suggest that simply asking pregnant patients about snoring could result in better maternal and fetal outcomes.

Between March 2007 and December 2010, more than 1,700 women aged ≥18 years and ≥27 weeks’ pregnant were recruited from University of Michigan prenatal clinics for the study. The comparison group included nonpregnant controls recruited from women aged 18 to 45 years who had routine gynecologic visits.

Participants were screened for presence and duration of habitual snoring (i.e., snoring at least 3 to 4 times per week) as a known marker for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and clinical diagnoses of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes were obtained.

Of the pregnant women, 34% reported snoring compared with 14.9% of controls, and 25% indicated the problem began during pregnancy. Those who snored were more likely to have chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia than non-snorers. An independent association was found between pregnancy-onset snoring and gestational hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 2.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48-3.77; P<.001) and preeclampsia (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.06-2.37; P=0.24) but not gestational diabetes after adjustment for confounders.

According to the investigators, this is the first large, prospective study to link snoring that begins in pregnancy with significant maternal cardiovascular risk. The practical implications, they say, are that “approximately 12-19% of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy might be ameliorated through treatment of snoring and any associated SDB.”

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