S08 Adverse developmental outcomes in offspring as consequence of sleep disorders during pregnancy


Human and altricial species are marked by a long gestation period. It is well known that poor sleep quality is encountered during last trimester even during normal pregnancy. However, further sleep disturbances during pregnancy due to emergent lifestyle, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or sleep disordered breathing (SDB) leads to adverse outcomes in offspring. There is growing body of evidence that such prenatal sleep loss lead to emergence of depression like traits, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders related behavioral phenotypes, immature brain networks for sleep-wakefulness, metabolic disorders, obesity etc in offspring. Moreover, sleep is also impaired in children with neuro-developmental disorder like autism.

    • In this symposium, these recent evidence from basic and clinical research will be discussed to project importance of sleep during pregnancy for the neuro-developmental outcomes in growing offspring. First speaker (KK Gulia) will discuss the effects of restriction of different components of sleep (REM sleep and Total sleep) during late pregnancy on developmental delay and immature networks for sleep-wakefulness in neonates and distinct behavioral phenotypes of depression and hyperactivity in the rodent model. Second speaker (R Cortese) will illustrate effects of Intermittent Hypoxia (LG-IH) and Sleep Fragmentation (LG-SF) during late gestational on the phenotypic and metabolic alteration in the offspring. Large-scale DNA methylation profiling showed a major role for epigenomic regulation of pathways associated with the metabolic processes and inflammatory responses in Visceral White Adipose Tissue (VWAT). LG-SF and LG-IH induced epigenetic alterations may underlie increases in the susceptibility to obesity and metabolic syndrome in the offspring. Fetal perturbations by OSA during pregnancy impose long-term detrimental effects manifesting as metabolic dysfunction in adult offspring.
    • Third speaker (R Tauman) will explain short and long-term effects of maternal SDB on the offspring. Maternal SDB during pregnancy, that even in its mild form, is associated with alterations in fetal and placental growth, and affects head circumference and adiposity acquisition from birth through infancy. Last speaker in this symposium will discuss prenatal health and impaired sleep in children with autism. Early detection of gross developmental sleep patterns in life can be useful in undertaking remedial measures to improve developing brain networks.  

Thus, through this symposium, effects of gestational sleep disorders on altered developmental trajectories and long-term consequences in the offspring will be discussed based on electrophysiological, biochemical, epigenetic, and neurological evidence. Prenatal sleep is emerging as a crucial factor for the outcomes in offspring. Early detection of impaired sleep and epigenetic profiling can be used as potential marker for the detecting developmental abnormalities.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:

      • Explain the importance of sleep during pregnancy for optimal developmental outcomes in neonates
      • Recognize the major role of OSA-induced epigenetic alterations in the fetal programing and the establishment of the obesogenic phenotype in the offspring.
      • Discuss the association of maternal SDB during pregnancy, that even in its mild form, with fetal and placental growth, and adiposity acquisition from birth through infancy.
      • Assess the usefulness of animal models on preclinical gestational sleep research and to extrapolate the findings from pre-clinical research into potential clinical applications
      • Assess the associated risk factors, plausible remedial and interventional strategies

Target Audience

Pediatric sleep Expert, gynecologist cum sleep researcher, sleep scientists, neurologists


Kamalesh K Gulia (India)

Gestational sleep loss linked to immature brain networks in offspring

Kamalesh K Gulia (India)

Impact of gestational sleep apnea in the metabolic phenotype and epigenome of the offspring

Rene Cortese (United States)

The effect of mild sleep-disordered breathing on the fetus, placenta and offspring growth and adiposity

Riva Tauman (Israel)

Prenatal health and autism

Preeti Devnani (United Arab Emirates)

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