Article Text

Download PDFPDF

42 Frequency and severity of obstructive sleep apnea in black compared to white pregnant women
  1. Louise O’Brien1,
  2. Maristella Lucchini2,
  3. Fanny Johns1,
  4. Galit Dunietz1,
  5. Kaylin White3,
  6. David Kalmbach4 and
  7. D’Angela Pitts4
  1. 1University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  2. 2Columbia University, New York, USA
  3. 3Emory University, Atlanta, USA
  4. 4Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, USA


Introduction Black individuals experience a higher prevalence of sleep disruption, including obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), compared to Whites, which is believed to contribute to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. Among pregnant women, Blacks experience a higher burden of poor pregnancy outcomes such as gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, foetal growth restriction, and premature birth. In pregnancy, OSA has been associated with the latter adverse outcomes. Nonetheless, it is currently unknown whether differences exist in the presence and severity of OSA between Black and White pregnant women

Methods Pregnant women in mid-to-late pregnancy were recruited from a large academic medical centre and invited to undergo home sleep testing using the WatchPAT device. OSA was defined as an apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) ≥5 events/hour. The frequency and severity of OSA was compared between Black and White pregnant women.

Results 191 women enrolled (42 Black). Demographic information is shown in table 1. Sleep duration was shorter in Blacks compared to Whites (350 minutes vs 375 minutes, p=0.02). A similar proportion of Black compared to White women had OSA (33% vs. 31%). Although severity of OSA was non-significantly elevated in Blacks (AHI 9.2 vs 6.3, p=0.07), minimum oxygen saturation was significantly lower in Black women (89% vs 91%, p=0.04) and the oxygen desaturation index was higher in Blacks compared to Whites (4.9 vs 2.5, p=0.03) after accounting for differences in demographics.

Abstract 42 Table 1

Discussion The incidence of OSA in pregnancy was high with approximately one-third of all women having OSA. Nonetheless, despite being younger and earlier in gestation, Black women had greater severity of oxygen desaturation compared to Whites; this is likely attributed to the higher BMI observed in Black women. These findings have implications for OSA screening in pregnancy.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.