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Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Sleep study probes snoring link
Researchers are investigating whether snoring during pregnancy can affect the baby's health.

Scientists say a lack of oxygen during sleep could restrict birth weight.

Sleep apnoea - where a person stops breathing for a short period during sleep - is a common condition among overweight men and pregnant women.

A 6,000 grant from Action Medical Research will allow scientists at City Hospital in Nottingham to study the link between apnoea and birth weight.

Sleep apnoea is very easy to treat and if there is a link, it's something we can quickly put right
Prof Jim Thornton, sleep researcher

The grant will pay for monitoring devices which record the levels of oxygen as the pregnant woman sleeps.

Prof Jim Thornton of City Hospital, part of the study team, said: "My interest in this goes back many years when I had a patient who had the classic signs of sleep apnoea - loud snoring and low oxygen levels during sleep.

"She went on to lose her baby, which her scans had shown to be very small.

"We know that oxygen levels can have an impact on intrauterine growth."

He said in some cases pregnant women have lost a baby during a severe asthma attack - which indicates some link with low oxygen levels.

"There are many reasons for low birth weight, of course, but sleep apnoea is very easy to treat and if there is a link, it's something we can quickly put right and so help prevent growth restriction in an unborn baby," he said.

The team is handing out questionnaires and using equipment to monitor patients as part of the study.


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