Protect Your Child’s Health
Pregnancy is demanding and stressful on its own, but mothers suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can face a unique set of challenges. Luckily, specialists like Dr. Lawrence provide non-invasive treatment to reduce or eliminate these issues.
Learn the risks that sleep apnea presents to expecting mothers and ensure the safety of your child.
Pregnancy With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common condition which causes muscles at the back of the throat to relax during sleep and obstruct the flow of air. Because increased body weight is a risk factor for sleep apnea, the natural weight gain that comes with pregnancy may contribute to nighttime breathing issues. Additionally, elevated hormones can cause the mucus membrane in your nose to swell, resulting in congestion and obstructed breathing.
Whether sleep apnea arises during pregnancy or is a preexisting condition, there is no better reason to seek treatment than the protection of your child. If you snore loudly and frequently or seem to be breathing irregularly over the course of a night, sleep apnea may be to blame.
Only a sleep study can confirm with certainty that you are suffering from sleep apnea. Dr. Lawrence can refer you to specialists for an overnight observation or provide the tools to conduct an at-home sleep study.
The Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
Sleep apnea requires a professional diagnosis and not every expecting mother will exhibit the same symptoms. Here are some of the signs to look for as indications of sleep apnea during pregnancy:
- Poor quality of sleep, waking up less refreshed and well rested
- Increased fatigue during the day
- Dry mouth
- Extended headaches
- Heartburn, especially overnight
- Restlessness, waking up frequently over the course of a night’s sleep
Since many of these symptoms can be common to any pregnancy, it’s crucial that expecting mothers have their individual case evaluated by a caring specialist. At SleepRight McKinney, Dr. Lawrence will ensure that you receive a definitive evaluation in the environment most comfortable for you.
Sleep Apnea’s Effect on Your Child
When airflow is obstructed during sleep, the body experiences a drop in blood oxygenation levels. This results in the symptoms of fatigue we generally associate with sleep apnea; you simply can’t get the quality of rest you need to feel restored. These issues are made even more serious when your growing baby depends on your circulatory system.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can impair the development of your unborn child. Fetal growth can be restricted by drops in blood sugar and the increased levels of carbon dioxide that result from obstructed breathing. This can lead to low birth weight and preterm delivery. Sleep apnea symptoms are also linked to complications in the birthing process, including prolonged labor or the need for unplanned Cesarean sections.
Unfortunately, the concerns for babies born to mothers with untreated sleep apnea may not end in their infant stage of life. Elevated rates of diabetes, obesity, and other weight issues have been shown in some research to follow these children into adulthood.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common is it to develop sleep apnea during pregnancy?
In the United States, research suggests that about 10 percent of women suffer from sleep apnea. During pregnancy, however, this number is estimated to jump to upwards of 26 percent by the third trimester. Whether or not symptoms persist after a pregnancy depends on individual cases, but treating sleep apnea during gestation is crucial to ensure healthy development and delivery for your baby.
Can other conditions predispose me to sleep apnea during my pregnancy?
If you suffer from certain conditions, the likelihood of developing sleep apnea during your pregnancy may be higher than average. We advise that you watch for signs of sleep apnea if you’re pregnant and struggle with any of the following conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
- Diabetes, including Gestational Diabetes
- Deviated Septum
Can sleep apnea harm my unborn baby?
Pregnant women struggling with sleep apnea are more likely to develop certain conditions, like preeclampsia, which may pose a risk to their unborn babies. There’s also a chance that their child’s development may be impacted. Furthermore, because sleep apnea affects a patient’s ability to breathe while asleep, their fetus’s oxygen levels may drop. Pregnant patients with sleep apnea are also more likely to require a C-section delivery.
Can you be tested for sleep apnea while pregnant?
Sleep studies are non-invasive, and are completely safe to undergo while pregnant. If you experience symptoms of sleep apnea or suspect you may struggle from a sleep disorder, don’t hesitate to call our office at (972) 542-9129 to schedule a consultation with our McKinney sleep dentist.
Dr. Lawrence will assess your situation and likely schedule a sleep test to further diagnose your sleep apnea and provide the proper treatment, such as VIVOS appliance therapy.
What specific strategies can reduce sleep apnea symptoms during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it’s suggested to adopt the habit of sleeping on your side rather than on your back. Propping yourself against pillows or sleeping with a pillow held between your legs can help keep you from rolling over in the night and increase airflow. It may be worthwhile to seek out a side-sleeping pregnancy pillow specifically designed to comfortably maintain your position.
If you experience hormone related congestion, there are decongestant medicines approved for use during pregnancy that can relieve pressure on your sinuses. We also recommend looking into natural strategies that are broadly applied to naturally mitigate sleep apnea symptoms, such as safe levels of sunlight, exercise, and other habits that promote healthy, regular sleep.
Consulting with a sleep apnea specialist like Dr. McKinney is the only way to verify that you’re getting the airflow you need through the night. Professional sleep apnea treatment remains the best guarantee to get the rest you need.
Don’t Wait to Address Your Sleep Apnea
It’s so important to identify and treat symptoms of sleep apnea during your pregnancy. The expert team at SleepRight McKinney will ensure that you receive a reliable assessment to provide the best treatment for your individual case. Contact Dr. Lawrence today at (972) 542-9129 to schedule a no-risk consultation and get the care you and your baby deserve.