The Truth About Sleep Apnea and Pregnancy

It a well known fact that sleeping while pregnant is challenging. If it’s not the hormonal changes in the first trimester promoting sleep disturbances, it’s the extra weight and moving baby in the third. These changes are a normal part of pregnancy and, while they’re not the most convenient symptoms, an increase in sleep disturbance is an expected finding during pregnancy. But, sleeping problems that just never seem to let up could be an issue and may need to be evaluated by a physician. Sleep disturbances caused by the disorder known as sleep apnea may be the culprit behind prenatal sleeping problems and place the mother and baby at a risk for disease.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent episodes without breath during the night. Sleep apnea in pregnancy is often related to weight gain, gestational diabetes, and excess mucous production blocking the airway during the night.

Sleep apnea is risky for both mother and baby. The illness increases the pregnant mother’s chances of developing a cardiovascular event and preeclampsia. The newborn is more likely to have a premature birth and spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy?

Look for loud, frequent snoring, dry mouth and headaches in the morning, and exhaustion unrelated to pregnancy. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as fatigue, are hard to distinguish from pregnancy symptoms. The mother’s primary care provider may ask her to undergo a sleep study which can be done at home or in a sleep laboratory.

Treating Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy

The treatment of sleep apnea in pregnancy is the same as treatment outside of pregnancy. Most physicians will ask their patients to participate in continued positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy. A CPAP machine delivers pressured air to the sleep apnea sufferer through a mask and keeps the patient’s airway open and oxygenated all night.

While comfortable treatment is important to everyone with sleep apnea, it’s especially important for pregnant mothers. Sleep is an important part of maintain a healthy pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and have been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, let us help you find the perfect treatment option for you and your baby. We’re a JACHO accredited medical supply company passionate about promoting optimal health through restorative sleep.