Pregnant women with gestational hypertension may have a high frequency of sleep disordered breathing

Sleep. 2011 Aug 1;34(8):1033-8. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1156.


Background: Gestational hypertension is a common complication of pregnancy. Recent evidence suggests that women with gestational hypertension have a high rate of sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Using laboratory-based polysomnography, we evaluated for the frequency of SDB in women with gestational hypertension compared to healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

Methods: In this single-center cross-sectional study, women with the diagnosis of gestational hypertension were screened in the Fetal Assessment Unit and Antepartum ward. Healthy subjects were recruited by local advertising. Subjects completed a series of questionnaires addressing sleep quality and daytime sleepiness, followed by full night polysomnography. The primary outcome was frequency of SDB (defined as a respiratory disturbance index ≥ 5) in the gestational hypertension and healthy groups.

Results: A total of 34 women with gestational hypertension and singleton pregnancies and 26 healthy women with uncomplicated singleton pregnancies consented to participate in the study. The mean ages and gestational ages, but not the body mass indices, of the 2 groups were similar. The frequencies of SDB in the more obese gestational hypertension group and the healthy group were 53% and 12%, respectively (P < 0.001).

Interpretation: Women with gestational hypertension may have a significantly higher frequency of SDB than do healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies of similar gestational age. The relative causal contributions, if any, of SDB and obesity remain to be determined.

Keywords: Sleep disordered breathing; gestational hypertension; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Polysomnography / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Saskatchewan / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires