Sleep Apnea and Gestational Diabetes
Five months have come and gone since you learned you were in the family way. You are eagerly anticipating the arrival of your bundle of joy and friends still say that you have that special pregnancy glow. Unfortunately, your obstetrician just confirmed that you have gestational diabetes, and you are worried about the elevated level of sugar in your blood. Should you be concerned about any other medical issues?
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers discovered that there is a definite connection between a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, women with gestational diabetes were found to have OSA seven times more than pregnant women without an abnormal level of glucose.
With gestational diabetes, blood sugar levels rise to above 140 mg/dL, and occur in women who did not have diabetes before becoming pregnant. For the most part, women will learn that they have this form of diabetes in their second trimester with 4 to 8 out of every 100 pregnant women being affected. According to the American Diabetic Association, gestational diabetes occurs in 18% of pregnancies.
OSA is a disorder that is characterized by episodes whereby breathing stops from 5 to 30 times per hour. If left untreated, OSA places the individual at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart failure and heart attack, and stroke.
According to Simon Reutrakul, MD, lead researcher for this study, “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.”
Based on this data, it is important for women with gestational diabetes to seek an evaluation for possible sleep apnea, and even more so, if they already have high blood pressure or happen to be considered obese, despite being pregnant.
In the past, research was focused on the association between sleep apnea and an increase in unfavorable pregnancy outcomes. Studies demonstrated that pregnant women with severe apnea had a greater incidence of premature babies, and gestational diabetes. Data found a connection between moderate to severe sleep apnea but it has never been determined whether or not sleep apnea causes an increase in adverse outcomes in women who are also classified as obese.
Once properly diagnosed by a physician after a sleep study evaluation, the proper treatment plan for OSA can be individualized for you. Don’t let the bliss of your pregnancy cause any unexpected health issues. Contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 or schedule a free consultation when it’s convenient for you.