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STUDY OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a cohort of women with class III obesity, and a comparator lean group, in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Secondary objectives were to compare characteristics of women with obesity with and without OSA and to assess factors that were predictive of OSA. METHODS: We performed a prospective cohort study involving 33 women with class III obesity (mean body mass index 43.5 ± 3.9 kg/m2) and 39 lean women (body mass index 22.0 ± 1.7 kg/m2) with singleton pregnancies. Participants completed 2 level 3 sleep studies between 12-22 weeks and 32-38 weeks gestation. OSA was defined as a respiratory event index ≥ 5 events/h (≥ 3% desaturation criteria). Levels of interleukin-6, glucose, and C-peptide were quantified in maternal blood. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of OSA. RESULTS: OSA was identified in 12 (37.5%) and 14 (50.0%) women with obesity and in 1 (2.6%) and 3 (9.1%) lean women in the second and third trimesters, respectively. Women with obesity with OSA were older than those with no OSA but otherwise had similar characteristics. In unadjusted analysis of women with obesity, increased age, body mass index, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, and history of nonsmoking were associated with increased odds of OSA. In multivariable analysis, only increased age remained significantly associated with OSA. CONCLUSIONS: OSA is highly prevalent in pregnant women with class III obesity. Further research is required to establish effective management strategies for the growing number of women in this high-risk group. CITATION: Johns EC, Hill EA, Williams S, et al. High prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in pregnant women with class III obesity: a prospective cohort study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(2):423-432.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Publication Date





423 - 432