According to a study published in Ob.Gyn.News, women with gestational diabetes are nearly seven times more likely to have sleep apnea compared to expectant mothers without the condition. What’s more, study results also reveal that expectant mothers with gestational diabetes also sleep, on average, one hour less per night compared to pregnant women who do not have gestational diabetes.

“It’s common for pregnant women to experience sleep disruptions, but the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea increases substantially in women who have gestational diabetes,” noted Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, in a released statement. “Nearly 75% of the participants in our study who had gestational diabetes also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea.”

According to the study, CPAP treatment early in pregnancy for women with hypertension and chronic snoring was noted to be associated with better blood pressure control and pregnancy outcomes. CPAP treatment in non-pregnant type 2 diabetes patients with sleep apnea has been shown occasionally effective in improving glucose control.

As explained by Ob.Gyn.News, For the study, researchers compared metabolic and sleep apnea measures in 15 pregnant women who did not have gestational diabetes; 15 pregnant women with gestational diabetes; and 15 obese controls who were neither pregnant nor diabetic. The groups were matched for age, race, and in the pregnant groups, and pre-pregnancy BMI.

All gestating women were expecting singletons and were either in the latter part of their second term, or the early part of their third. The average gestational age was 28.2 +/– 3.7 weeks in the women with gestational diabetes, and 30.9 +/– 2.0 weeks in the pregnant group without.

After they adjusted for pre-pregnancy BMI, Reutrakul and his associates found that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes was strongly associated with a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

The researchers also found that pregnant women with gestational diabetes slept a median average of 1 hour less than the other pregnant women — 397 minutes versus 464 minutes, respectively. The gestational diabetes cohort also had a median AHI approximately four times higher than the pregnant women without gestational diabetes, and a higher overall rate of sleep apnea than the non-gestational diabetes group (73% versus. 27%).

Compared with controls, a higher AHI was found in pregnant women without gestational diabetes (2.0 vs. 0.5), as was more disrupted sleep as reflected by a higher wake time after sleep onset (66 vs. 21 minutes). Their median microarousal index was also higher (16.4 vs. 10.6).

The researchers noted that women with gestational diabetes gained less weight during pregnancy than the pregnant women without the condition, which eliminates a strong association between gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, and sleep apnea