Are you at risk of a premature birth?

Are you at risk of a premature birth?

Did you know sleep disorders and premature birth could be related?

According to a new study, mothers who have sleep disorders could be at higher risk of having their baby before 34 weeks.

The research, published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, studied 2,265 pregnant women who have sleep disorders and compared their births to a control group of women who had similar risk factors for delivering prematurely, such as high blood pressure, smoking or previously preterm births. The study found the control group had 10.9 percent lower risk of a premature birth, and the women with sleep disorders had a 14.6 percent higher risk of having a baby prematurely.

“Sleep apnea is under-diagnosed and under-treated, and it has numerous causes,” says Dr. Yelena Tumashova, a sleep medicine specialist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

“But with pregnancy, it can likely be caused by physical, hormonal or physiological changes. Most of the pregnant patients I see have been diagnosed with apnea before pregnancy. The ability to sleep during pregnancy for women who don’t have sleeping disorders tends to get worse throughout gestation and makes it harder to diagnosis.”

The data also found women who have sleep apnea had more than double the risk of delivering before 34 weeks, and the same went for women who have insomnia.

“Sleep apnea takes place when an individual has shallow or paused breaths during their sleep that can last anywhere from seconds to minutes. This change in breathing can lead to a premature birth because the mother’s body deprives the baby of oxygen,” says Dr. Tumashova.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Quinzio
Elizabeth Quinzio

Elizabeth Quinzio, health enews contributor, is an intern of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. She is a senior at Elmhurst College, pursuing a degree in communication studies. When she isn’t interning, Elizabeth enjoys writing about her personal experiences and watching YouTube makeup tutorials. She also loves to take her dog, Gracie, for walks around the neighborhood.

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