Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, May 5, 1999 Published at 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK


Snoring in pregnancy 'a danger sign'

Snoring in pregnancy may be a danger sign

Women who snore when they are pregnant may be at risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure that could threaten their lives when they give birth.

Around 10% of pregnant women suffer from pre-eclampsia, a condition in which high blood pressure can lead to injury or even death in the mother and the foetus.

Women can try to reduce their blood pressure by resting or with medication. But drugs may put the foetus at risk, and sometimes even the maximum dose fails to get blood pressure down.

New Scientist magazine reports that a team from Umea University in Sweden have discovered that breathing problems that cause snoring may be a risk factor.

Dr Karl Franklin and colleagues gave questionnaires to 502 pregnant women.

While only 4% reported frequent snoring before pregnancy, 23% snored by the end of their pregnancies.

Around 10% of the snoring women had pre-eclampsia, while only 4% of non-snorers developed the condition.

All patients with pre-eclampsia started snoring before any hint of pre-eclampsia, such as blurred vision, appeared.

Similar findings

[ image: High blood pressure can kill]
High blood pressure can kill
A second study by the University of Sydney produced similar findings.

Dr Natalie Edwards and her colleagues at the University of Sydney looked at 32 women with severe pre-eclampsia and 40 with normal pregnancies and found that all the women with pre-eclampsia were snorers.

Women with the highest degree of airway obstruction during sleep also had the highest blood pressures.

The Australian researchers found that they could prevent both the snoring and the high blood pressure by giving women breathing masks attached to a machine that kept their airways open while they were asleep.

Dr Edwards said: "All of the obstetricians were impressed that we could control this so effectively."

Lincolnshire GP Dr Martyn Walling, a member of the Primary Care Gynaecology Group, said there was no obvious medical link between snoring and pregnancy.

He said: "Snoring can be more common in pregnancy because women who are 30-40 weeks pregnant can find it uncomfortable to sleep on their side, and have to start sleeping on their back."

Dr Walling said women should have regular ante-natal checks on their blood pressure, weight, fluid retention and urine so that any symptoms of pre-eclampsia were picked up as soon as possible.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

09 Apr 99 | Health
Premature birth 'offers less cancer protection'

23 Mar 99 | Health
Many unaware smoking harms children

25 Feb 99 | Health
Two-year time gap for healthy babies

12 Feb 99 | Health
Schizophrenia linked to pregnancy problems

15 Jan 99 | Health
Stress causes small babies

08 Jan 99 | Health
Ultrasound detects heart defects

18 Nov 98 | Health
Grant aids fight against deaths in labour

Internet Links

British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Women's health and pregnancy

New Scientist

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99