Just as pregnant women may be at risk for gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension that develop while carrying their fetuses, they may also develop gestational OSA, in which one stops breathing for several seconds during sleep, the researchers said. The obese most commonly suffer from OSA, putting them at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Now, in an editorial in the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, sleep researchers from Israel and the US recommend a new diagnosis, “Gestational Sleep Apnea” (GSA). This would allow health professionals to properly describe, diagnose and treat OSA in pregnant women.
“Currently there is a lack of uniform criteria to diagnose, treat and classify OSA in the pregnant population, which in turn complicates efforts to determine the risk factors for, and complications of, gestational sleep apnea,” said Prof. Yehuda Ginosar, director of the mother and child anesthesia unit at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem who is on the faculty of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine.