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Sleep Disorders In Pregnant Women Could Lead To Preterm Birth

A new American study which was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown that pregnant women who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia are a risk factor for preterm births. They may be at nearly double the risk of delivering their babies before 34 weeks.

Sleep Disorders In Pregnant Women Could Lead To Preterm Birth
Sleep disorders in pregnant women

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A new American study which was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown that pregnant women who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia are a risk factor for preterm births. They may be at nearly double the risk of delivering their babies before 34 weeks. The findings showed that the prevalence of preterm birth defined as delivery before 37 weeks' gestation was 14.6 per cent for women diagnosed with a sleep disorder during pregnancy compared to 10.9 per cent of the women who were not.

Researchers found that women who suffer from sleep disorders during pregnancy are more likely to give birth at the end of eight months of gestation. The odds of early preterm birth before 34 weeks were more than double for women with sleep apnea and nearly double for women with insomnia.

Chief among these disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, (OSA) which is characterized by short pauses in breathing caused by narrowed or collapsed airways. OSA disturbs sleep patterns and results in fatigue and lethargy. It also leads to cardiovascular problems and diabetes in the long run.

Lead author Jennifer Felder, post-doctoral student at the University of California San Francisco said treating sleep disorders during pregnancy could be a way to reduce the preterm rate which is about 10 per cent in the US, more than other highly developed countries.

The team analyzed a wide sample of 2,265 women with a sleep disorder diagnosis during pregnancy. They were then matched to those who did not have such a diagnosis but had identical maternal risk factors for preterm birth such as a previous preterm birth, smoking during pregnancy or hypertension.

Felder said "What's so exciting about this study is that a sleep disorder is a potentially modifiable risk factor."

Globally, 15 million babies are born prematurely more than three weeks before the typical full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks each year. One out of every 10 babies in the world is born prematurely.

Among these, 1.1 million die from birth-related complications while others are left with hearing impairment, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and other health issues.

 

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