FRIDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with
gestational diabetes may have an increased risk of obstructive
sleep apnea, a small new study suggests.
Gestational diabetes typically develops during the second
trimester of pregnancy and occurs in roughly four to eight of every
100 pregnant women in the United States.
Sleep apnea causes brief interruptions in breathing during
sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk for stroke,
cardiovascular disease and heart attack, according to background
information in the study to be published in the
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
"It is common for pregnant women to experience sleep
disruptions, but the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea
increases substantially in women who have gestational diabetes,"
study author Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul, who conducted the research at
Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a journal news
The study included 15 pregnant women with gestational diabetes,
15 pregnant women without the condition and 15 women who were not
pregnant and did not have diabetes. Pregnant women without
gestational diabetes got an additional hour of sleep per night and
had less fragmented sleep than those with gestational diabetes.
"Nearly 75 percent of the participants in our study who had
gestational diabetes also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea,"
While the study found an increased risk of having sleep apnea
among pregnant women with gestational diabetes, it did not prove a
Previous research has shown that less sleep, fragmented sleep
and shorter periods spent in deep sleep, which are all symptoms of
sleep apnea, can increase a person's risk of developing
"Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes
should be considered for evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea,
especially if other risk factors such as hypertension or obesity
are present, and women already diagnosed with sleep apnea should be
monitored for signs of gestational diabetes during pregnancy,"
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more