Racial/ethnic disparities in sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy in the nuMoM2b study

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Apr;31(4):923-933. doi: 10.1002/oby.23697. Epub 2023 Mar 2.


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and severity of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) across racial/ethnic groups in 3702 pregnant people at 6 to 15 and 22 to 31 weeks gestational age, examine whether BMI modifies the association between race/ethnicity and SDB, and investigate whether interventions to reduce weight might reduce racial/ethnic disparities in SDB.

Methods: Differences by race/ethnicity in SDB prevalence and severity were quantified via linear, logistic, or quasi-Poisson regression. Controlled direct effect was used to estimate whether intervening on BMI would remove/diminish differences by race/ethnicity in SDB severity.

Results: This study comprised 61.2% non-Hispanic White (nHW), 11.9% non-Hispanic Black (nHB), 18.5% Hispanic, and 3.7% Asian people. SDB prevalence was higher for nHB compared with nHW pregnant people at 6 to 15 weeks (odds ratio [OR] 1.81, 95% CI [1.07, 2.97]), whereas at 21 to 32 weeks, Asian pregnant people had a higher SDB prevalence than nHW (OR 2.2, 95% CI [1.1, 4.0]). The severity of SDB differed across racial/ethnic groups in early pregnancy, with nHB pregnant people having a higher apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) (OR 1.35, 95% CI [1.07, 1.69]) compared with nHW. Having overweight/obesity was associated with a higher AHI (β = 2.36, 95% CI [1.97, 2.84]). Controlled direct effect analyses indicated that in early pregnancy, nHB and Hispanic pregnant people would have a lower AHI compared with nHW people had they had normal weight.

Conclusions: This study extends knowledge on racial/ethnic disparities in SDB to a pregnant population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Racial Groups
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes* / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes* / epidemiology
  • White People*