Pregnancy & Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by loud snoring and brief, involuntary breathing pauses during sleep. We’ve known that sleep apnea can cause complications during pregnancy. However, a new study has come out that reveals exactly how sleep apnea affects a woman’s health during pregnancy.

Researchers found that having sleep apnea increases pregnant women’s chances of developing associated medical problems. The chances of developing preeclampsia and eclampsia, two conditions involving hypertension associated with pregnancy, increased by a factor of 2.5 and 5.4 respectively. The chance of developing cardiomyopathy, a significant and dangerous weakness of the heart muscle, was 9 times more likely in pregnant women with sleep apnea. Finally, pregnant women with sleep apnea were 5 times as likely to die while hospitalized for their pregnancy. In all cases, obesity made matters worse, and may have contributed to the rise in sleep apnea.

If you are having trouble sleeping, staying asleep, or feeling overly fatigued or tired during the day while pregnant, talk to your doctor about obstructive sleep apnea. Even if you did not have any sleep problems before pregnancy, the disorder can develop at any time.

A simple solution to this problem is a customized oral appliance, which is a small device, similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard. This appliance can be an alternative to CPAP machines and, in some cases, be the first choice for treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Don’t suffer from sleep apnea and put you and your baby at risk. Call our office today if you need help finding a sleep physician that can diagnose your sleep apnea (804) 749-2669.

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