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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2012 Jul;32(5):434-8. doi: 10.3109/01443615.2012.658892.

Clinical manifestations of obstructive sleep apnoea in pregnancy: more than snoring and witnessed apnoeas.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Women's Medicine Collaborative of Lifespan, 146 West River Street, Providence, RI 02904, USA.


Sleep disordered breathing and its symptoms have been associated with a multitude of fetal and maternal complications including gestational hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes and possibly pre-term labour and other markers of alterations in fetal wellbeing. The disease remains underdiagnosed in the general population but likely also in pregnancy, mostly because providers do not appropriately screen for the disorder. Sleep disordered breathing may manifest differently in women, since women report more fatigue and less snoring than men do. This paper discusses typical presentations of sleep disordered breathing but also reports some less obvious presentations to help providers recognise those manifestations and screen for the disorder when warranted. Our case series describes patients with diagnoses such as chronic hypertension, pre-eclampsia, pulmonary hypertension, nocturnal asthma and panic attacks, who were diagnosed with sleep disordered breathing and offered treatment with CPAP during pregnancy.

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