Talking Sleep Season 6 | Episode 1

Sleep as an Opportunity to Improve Maternal Mortality

DR. GHADA BOURJEILY, GUEST

Welcome to Season 6 of Talking Sleep. We are starting the new year by examining that time in our lives when we welcome new lives into the world. We often think about pregnancy as a joyful time.

But, for too many women in the U.S., pregnancy leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Our U.S. maternal mortality rate increased from 20.1 per 100,000 live births in 2019 to 32.9 per 100,000 live births in 2021. For black women, this was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. The causes are severe bleeding, infections, and preeclampsia/eclampsia. The CDC indicates that 4 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable. Dr. Ghada Bourjeily is here to show us how maternal mortality intersects with sleep medicine.

Ghada Bourjeily, MD, is board-certified in pulmonary disease and sleep medicine and is a professor of medicine at Brown University. She is also director of research and training for the Women’s Medicine Collaborative at Lifespan. Dr. Bourjeily’s clinical expertise is in pulmonary disease and pregnancy, and half of her patients are pregnant.

Episode Resources

  1. Katz J, Sanapo L, Bublitz MH, Guillen M, Avalos A, Aldana A, Wilson D, Bourjeily G. Longitudinally-assessed maternal sleep position, measures of breathing during sleep, and fetal growth in high-risk pregnancies. Sleep. 2023 Dec 18:zsad315. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsad315
  2. Dominguez JE, Cantrell S, Habib AS, Izci-Balserak B, Lockhart E, Louis JM, Miskovic A, Nadler JW, Nagappa M, O’Brien LM, Won C, Bourjeily G. Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine and the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology Consensus Guideline on the Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2023 Aug 1;142(2):403-423. https://doi.org/10.1097/aog.0000000000005261
  3. Malhamé I, Bublitz MH, Wilson D, Sanapo L, Rochin E, Bourjeily G. Sleep disordered breathing and the risk of severe maternal morbidity in women with preeclampsia: A population-based study. Pregnancy Hypertens. 2022 Dec;30:215-220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.preghy.2022.10.013
  4. Wilson DL, Fung AM, Pell G, Skrzypek H, Barnes M, Bourjeily G, Walker SP, Howard ME. Polysomnographic analysis of maternal sleep position and its relationship to pregnancy complications and sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep. 2022 Apr 11;45(4):zsac032. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsac032
  5. Platner MH, Ackerman CM, Howland RE, Illuzzi J, Reddy UM, Bourjeily G, Xu X, Lipkind HS. Severe maternal morbidity and mortality during delivery hospitalization of class I, II, III, and super obese women. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2021 Sep;3(5):100420. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajogmf.2021.100420