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Sleep disorders linked to preterm birth

9 August, 2017

Sleep disorders linked to preterm birth

Women diagnosed with sleep disorders are more likely to give birth more than six weeks early, according to new research.

The claim comes from a paper that analyses the medical records of almost three million women from California.

The study is part of the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative – a US $100m programme to study prematurity, focusing on California and East Africa. 

The researchers are using large quantities of historical data in the hope of identifying medical and social interventions that could reduce preterm births.

The programme is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and philanthropists Lynne and Marc Benioff.

The study results show a woman's risk of preterm birth increases by 30% with insomnia, while sleep apnea increases the risk by 40%. 

Sleep disorders also increased the risk of very premature births – 5.3% of those with sleep issues delivered their babies at less than 34 weeks' pregnancy, compared to 2.9% for women without such issues.

The authors stated: ‘Insomnia and sleep apnea were associated with significantly increased risk of preterm birth. 

‘Considering the high prevalence of sleep disorders during pregnancy and availability of evidence-based nonpharmacologic interventions, current findings suggest that screening for severe presentations would be prudent.’

The research has been published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. To read the abstract, click here

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