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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.

DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2020.8869


Abstract

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.


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