Pregnant and Snore? Maybe C-Section, and Small Baby

OK, I admit it.  I snore.  Mostly when I have a cold, and I'm sure I snored when I was pregnant, which, a new study has found, leads to a higher risk for C-sections -- and smaller babies.

I had a C-section and the doctors placed bets on just how big my baby would be.  Turns out he was only 8.15 (some had said 11 pounds), so I'm not sure that's always true.  But for some strange reason, snoring affects fetuses in the womb.

"Chronic snorers (moms who snored before and during pregnancy) are two thirds more likely to have a baby that’s born below the tenth percentile for babies of the same gestational age (smaller than 90 percent of other babies the same gestation) compared to non-snorers," reports newswise.com. They are also more than twice as likely to need an elective C-section, researchers found.

Now, I had a C-section because I was an older mom and apparently, we're the ones most likely to have one, out of the general pregnant population.  And it was sort of nice, knowing exactly when my son was going to be born ( a week early, because of his size), and not having to go through labor. But there are definitely drawbacks in terms of pain after the birth, and healing, and I even had a postpartum hemorrhage where I needed to be rushed back to the hospital for more surgery a week after Phillip was born.

It's highly unlikely that would happen in another pregnancy but snoring is a precursor to some problems, the study found.

"We’ve found that chronic snoring is associated with both smaller babies and C-sections, even after we accounted for other risk factors," newswise.com quotes lead study author Louise O’Brien, Ph.D., M.S., associate professor at U-M’s Sleep Disorders Center in the Department of Neurology and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the U-M Medical School.. "This suggests that we have a window of opportunity to screen pregnant women for breathing problems during sleep that may put them at risk of poor delivery outcomes.”

Timing of snoring patterns also made a difference in outcomes, researchers found. Chronic snorers who snored before and during pregnancy had the highest risks, "being more likely to have smaller babies and elective C-sections. Meanwhile, those who started snoring only during pregnancy had higher risk of both elective and emergency C-sections than women who did not snore," according to newswise.com.

But snoring can also indicate another problem. Snoring is a key sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing problem that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and has already been associated with serious, expensive health conditions. The new research comes a year after another study led by O’Brien showed that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at high risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia, newswise.com notes.

“If we can identify risks during pregnancy that can be treated, such as obstructive sleep apnea, we can reduce the incidence of small babies, C-sections and possibly NICU admission that not only improve long term health benefits for newborns but also help keep costs down," O'Brien told the web site.

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