Can CPAP Prevent Pregnancy Complications?

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous condition during pregnancy that can lead to life-threatening high blood pressure, kidney failure, and fetal growth delay. Dr. Colin Sullivan (the inventor of the CPAP machine) has published a series of studies on the beneficial effects of using CPAP to control preeclampsia. In his latest study, he and his colleagues showed that fetal movements were significantly lower in mothers with preeclampsia compares to controls. Using CPAP at relatively low pressures significantly increased the number of fetal movements. Over the course of the night, women not on CPAP had progressively lower fetal movements, whereas those on CPAP had progressively increased fetal movements. 

Just like in their previous studies, many of these women had only mild obstructive sleep apnea. Some did not have sleep apnea at all. However, the vast majority had what’s called inspiratory flow limitation, where there is partial obstruction to inhalation, but not meeting the criteria for an apneas (10 second pauses and/or lowered oxygen levels). 

It’s likely that they are treating is upper airway resistance syndrome, with multiple partial obstructions and arousals that don’t present as classic obstructive sleep apnea. 

It’s disappointing that despite this important information about pre-eclampsia, there’s been no significant movement to look for sleep-related breathing disorders in preeclamptic women.

If you ever had preeclampsia during pregnancy, did your doctor ever ask about your snoring or sleep quality?

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One thought on “Can CPAP Prevent Pregnancy Complications?

  1. CPAP machines can help increase the quality of life for those with moderate to chronic sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the individual stops breathing periodically while sleeping. Another symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. Both conditions can cause health risks that the CPAP machine can address. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and possibly stroke. Not to mention that loud snoring keeps sleeping partners awake at night. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This machine allows the user to keep the airway passage open, allowing more oxygen to the brain. In most cases this stops or reduces interrupted breathing. Snoring during the night is also stopped or reduced. This is good news for both the individual and their sleep partner.
    Benefits:
    Using this device gives the following benefits:
    • Quality sleep
    • Quality of life
    • Energy and motivation and mood
    • Job performance
    • Alertness while driving