Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Pregnancy-Related Cardiovascular Disease
Aaron D. Laposky, PhD, and Victoria L. Pemberton, RNC, MS, CCRC
JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S HEALTH
Volume 30, Number 2, 2021
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a serious medical condition characterized by intermittent episodes of airflow limitation, intermittent hypoxia, and sleep disturbance triggering a pattern of autonomic dysfunction associated with hypertension, diabetes, and other adverse health conditions. SDB incidence is two to three times higher during pregnancy and is associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic complications, including pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Treatments to protect breathing during sleep are available, pointing to SDB as a potential therapeutic target to reduce maternal cardiometabolic morbidity. However, in clinical practice, the majority of SDB cases in pregnancy are undiagnosed, indicating a need to improve screening for SDB risk factors and referral for diagnostic testing. Furthermore, definitive clinical trials are needed to determine
the extent to which SDB intervention reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular and neonatal outcomes in pregnancy. This review article discusses an accumulation of research pointing to SDB as a prevalent risk factor for gestational cardiometabolic disease, as well as a potential therapeutic target to reduce cardiometabolic morbidity.