New study finds snoring during pregnancy ups risk for high blood pressure

Saturday, October 13, 2012 by: Craig Stellpflug
Tags: snoring, pregnancy, high blood pressure

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(NaturalNews) Every year, thousands of women and their babies get sick and some die from a dangerous condition called preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period. "Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading global cause of maternal and infant deaths and cost billions of dollars annually to treat," says Louise O'Brien, Ph.D., associate professor in University of Michigan's Sleep Disorders Center.

Symptoms of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia doesn't always come with outward recognizable symptoms and close monitoring of blood pressure and normal pregnancy weight gain are especially important throughout the pregnancy. Blood pressure gains of over 15 points over normal and/or pregnancy weight gain of more than two pounds a week are markers of preeclampsia beginnings.

Preeclampsia symptoms are hypertension, proteinuria, edema (swelling), sudden weight gain, nausea or vomiting, abdominal and/or shoulder pain, lower back pain, headaches, changes in vision, hyperreflexia, racing pulse, mental confusion, heightened sense of anxiety, shortness of breath or chest pain, sense of impending doom.

The latest study

According to new research from the University of Michigan, women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at strong risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia. The study published September 25, with more than 1,700 participants, is the first study to demonstrate that pregnancy-onset snoring carries a significant risk to maternal cardiovascular health. About 25 percent of the study's participants started snoring frequently during pregnancy to double their risk for high blood pressure as compared to non-snoring participants. Habitual snoring is a hallmark symptom of sleep-disordered breathing and was defined as snoring three to four nights a week.

This research, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found pregnancy-onset snoring to be linked to gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. "We found that frequent snoring was playing a role in high blood pressure problems, even after we had accounted for other known risk factors," says lead researcher O'Brien. "And we already know that high blood pressure in pregnancy, particularly preeclampsia, is associated with smaller babies, higher risks of pre-term birth or babies ending up in the ICU."

Preeclampsia was once called the disease of theories

O'Brien states: "By asking pregnant women about snoring, especially in those with high blood pressure already, obstetric healthcare providers could identify women at high risk for sleep-disordered breathing and intervene during the pregnancy. This could result in better outcomes for mother and baby." O'Brien also stated that these results suggest that up to 19 percent of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy might be mitigated through treatment of any underlying sleep-disordered breathing. It is possible that use of Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) may decrease high blood pressure in pregnant women, and O'Brien has such a study currently underway to test this hypothesis.

What you can do

Naturopathic prenatal care is vital to a healthy pregnancy. Weighing, checking blood pressure and testing urine for protein are major keys to early detection of preeclampsia and these tests should all take place at every prenatal visit. Speak up immediately if any of these tests are omitted.

A high quality prenatal vitamin and a nutrient-rich diet are basics to a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins should have a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Avoid any prenatal vitamin with cyanocobalamin B12 and opt rather for methylcobalamin B12. Eliminate any and all processed foods, refined sugars and caffeine. Eliminating alcohol and over the counter medications is also essential.

Cut out gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains that can actually cause preeclampsia. For some pregnant women with preeclampsia, cutting out gluten solves the problem.

Stay active and enjoy the events surrounding your pregnancy and childbirth experience! Make your life as stress-free as possible.

Sources for this article:
Pregnancy-onset habitual snoring, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia: prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.08.034

About the author:
Craig Stellpflug is a Cancer Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Neuro Development Consultant at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. With 17 years of clinical experience working with both brain disorders and cancer, Craig has seen first-hand the devastating effects of vaccines and pharmaceuticals on the human body and has come to the conclusion that a natural lifestyle and natural remedies are the true answers to health and vibrant living. You can find his daily health blog at and his articles and radio show archives at

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