Snoring, gasping or choking during sleep are common symptoms of sleep‐disordered breathing and are associated with multiple adverse maternal and obstetric outcomes. The mechanisms responsible remain unknown; however, placental dysfunction is suspected.

The aim of this study was to investigate feto‐placental and fetal cardiac function in women with pregnancies complicated by obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms.

Materials and methods
This was a prospective observational cohort study at a large tertiary obstetric hospital in Australia. Women were asked to complete a questionnaire relating to the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms. They also underwent an ultrasound scan where Doppler indices of various feto‐placental vessels and fetal cardiac function were measured. Regional cerebral perfusion was also assessed.

A total of 255 women were included in the final analysis. Of these, 36.1% (92/255) of women reported no obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms; 63.9% (163/255) reported they experienced some form of obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms that included any frequency of snoring or choking/gasping, while 42.0% (107/255) complained of severe obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms (snoring ≥ 3 times a week or choking/gasping). There were no significant differences in feto‐placental Dopplers or fetal cardiac function parameters in women with obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms. There were also no differences in regional cerebral blood flow between groups, or any correlation with severity of symptoms.

Our data challenge the current perspective that adverse perinatal outcomes in women with obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms are related primarily to placental dysfunction and fetal compromise.