20 weeks pregnant

According to a recent study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, a serious health condition that has been linked to stroke, heart disease and heart attacks.

As many as eight out of every 100 women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or an increase in glucose levels found in the bloodstream, during their pregnancies. Most commonly, the condition is diagnosed in the second trimester and ceases after delivery.

Sleep apnea is characterized by disruptions in breathing during sleep. People with obstructive sleep apnea typically snore, and will stop breathing for short periods while sleeping. According to the study, nearly 75 percent of women with gestational diabetes also had obstructive sleep apnea.

“Based on these findings, women who have gestational diabetes should be considered for evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, especially if other risk factors such as hypertension or obesity are present, and women already diagnosed with sleep apnea should be monitored for signs of gestational diabetes during pregnancy,” said Sirimon Reutrakul, MD, who conducted the research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.