Patient and provider perceptions of sleep disordered breathing assessment during prenatal care: a survey-based observational study

Ther Adv Respir Dis. 2012 Aug;6(4):211-9. doi: 10.1177/1753465812444958. Epub 2012 May 3.


Objectives: Screening for sleep disordered breathing (SDB) remains poor in the general population, despite evidence for association with adverse outcomes and improvement of certain outcomes with therapy. Data from the past decade have suggested an association between snoring and adverse pregnancy outcomes including gestational hypertensive disorders. However, it is unclear how often SDB is screened for in pregnancy. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether, and how, symptoms of SDB are assessed during prenatal care.

Methods: This study was designed as a survey-based observational study. Within 48 hours of delivery, English-speaking patients were surveyed regarding prenatal conversations with obstetric providers about symptoms of SDB. During a similar time period, obstetric providers completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding how often they discussed the same symptoms during prenatal visits.

Results: A total of 776 patients and 80 providers performing the majority of deliveries at the same hospital answered the survey. Nurse providers asked about sleep quality significantly more often than physician providers; however, responses to questions about snoring were similar in both groups. Resident physicians were the least likely to ask about sleep quality. Less than 3% of providers reported asking about snoring, closely matching patient responses. A total of 44% of patients surveyed were overweight and 21.7% were obese. Although 32% of patients snored, only 5% were asked about snoring during a prenatal visit. Obese women and women with a history of gestational hypertensive disorders were more likely to report being asked about snoring.

Conclusions: Based on patient and obstetric provider recollections of discussions, the issue of SDB is poorly assessed during routine prenatal care, despite an increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in the pregnant population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Perception*
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Snoring
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult