An Auckland mother wishes she knew snoring through pregnancy could be detrimental to the reading abilities of her unborn children.

Vaulette Wylie is mother to 8-year-old twin girls Charlotte and Mia.

She suffered from sleep apnoea, which is characterised by disturbed sleep and snoring, throughout her pregnancy. At the time, she said it was a running joke between her and her husband.

"Suddenly I was the one snoring," she said. "It was like, 'Oh, I've woken myself up again'."


But now Wylie has learnt of a decade-long study by the University of Sydney linking sleep apnoea to reading difficulties, and she wants other pregnant women to be aware of the risks.

Wylie said the results rang true with her, as one of her two girls had learning difficulties as she was growing up. While she was fine in other areas, Charlotte found reading a challenge.

"She had a lot of assistance at school," Wylie said. "One-on-one assistance from a reading recovery teacher who comes into the school and helps the kids that are behind - that kind of thing."

Wylie said it was shocking to read about the flow-on effects sleep apnoea could have on unborn children and hoped the new information would assist others down the track.

"It would be good to know if there were ways to prevent it, like different sleeping positions. It's definitely something you would do to try to get the optimum outcome for your children."

The study tracked more than 209 babies born in New South Wales to mothers with the sleep disorder between 2002 and 2012, then looked at standardised educational test scores in their third year of school.

Results of the longitudinal study, released at the annual Australasian Sleep Association conference in Auckland this week, showed the condition was associated with low reading test scores. It was not linked to developmental vulnerability, special needs or low numeracy test scores.