Maternal cardiorespiratory coupling: differences between pregnant and non-pregnant women are further amplified by sleep stage stratification

Maretha Bester (Corresponding author), Giulia Perciballi, Pedro Fonseca, Merel M. van Gilst, Massimo Mischi, Judith O.E.H. van Laar, Rik Vullings, Rohan Joshi

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Samenvatting

Pregnancy complications are associated with abnormal maternal autonomic regulation. Subsequently, thoroughly understanding maternal autonomic regulation during healthy pregnancy may enable the earlier detection of complications, in turn allowing for the improved management thereof. Under healthy autonomic regulation, reciprocal interactions occur between the cardiac and respiratory systems, i.e., cardiorespiratory coupling (CRC). Here, we investigate, for the first time, the differences in CRC between healthy pregnant and nonpregnant women. We apply two algorithms, namely, synchrograms and bivariate phase-rectified signal averaging, to nighttime recordings of ECG and respiratory signals. We find that CRC is present in both groups. Significantly less ( P < 0.01) cardiorespiratory synchronization occurs in pregnant women (11% vs. 15% in nonpregnant women). Moreover, there is a smaller response in the heart rate of pregnant women corresponding to respiratory inhalations and exhalations. In addition, we stratified these analyses by sleep stages. As each sleep stage is governed by different autonomic states, this stratification not only amplified some of the differences between groups but also brought out differences that remained hidden when analyzing the full-night recordings. Most notably, the known positive relationship between CRC and deep sleep is less prominent in pregnant women than in their nonpregnant counterparts. The decrease in CRC during healthy pregnancy may be attributable to decreased maternal parasympathetic activity, anatomical changes to the maternal respiratory system, and the increased physiological stress accompanying pregnancy. This work offers novel insight into the physiology of healthy pregnancy and forms part of the base knowledge needed to detect abnormalities in pregnancy. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We compare CRC, i.e., the reciprocal interaction between the cardiac and respiratory systems, between healthy pregnant and nonpregnant women for the first time. Although CRC is present in both groups, CRC is reduced during healthy pregnancy; there is less synchronization between maternal cardiac and respiratory activity and a smaller response in maternal heart rate to respiratory inhalations and exhalations. Stratifying this analysis by sleep stages reveals that differences are most prominent during deep sleep.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1199-1212
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume135
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
Vroegere onlinedatum28 sep. 2023
DOI's
StatusGepubliceerd - 1 nov. 2023

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