Posted on Friday, December 15th, 2023 at 9:00 am
Are you aware that pregnancy increases the likelihood of experiencing sleep apnea? Furthermore, did you know that sleep apnea can have significant implications for both you and your baby? It’s true, which is why doctors have started recommending sleep apnea screening for some pregnant women.
At Silent Night Therapy, we have seen how obstructive sleep apnea can create significant health problems for pregnant women and their babies. We use custom-fitted oral appliances to promote better airflow during sleep and help you rest peacefully through the night. This blog explains some of the current research on pregnancy and sleep apnea and provides information on potential risk factors.
Research on Pregnancy and Sleep Apnea
Doctors have only recently begun studying the effects of sleep apnea on pregnant mothers and their babies. That’s partially why the Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine and the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology convened a panel of experts to review the existing research and issue fresh guidelines for screening pregnant women for sleep apnea. After looking at the existing studies, the panel recommended sleep apnea testing for pregnant women with the following risk factors:
- A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher
- Hypertension disorders (high blood pressure) related to pregnancy or diabetes
- Frequent snoring
- Enlarged tongues
At the same time, the panel said the existing research does not justify universal screening for sleep apnea among pregnant women. More studies are needed to fully explore this critical health issue and its connection to pregnancy.
Dangers of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
Obstructive sleep apnea can pose significant risks to both a mother and her unborn baby. Understanding these risks is essential to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Below, we outline some of the potential dangers associated with sleep apnea during pregnancy:
- High Blood Pressure: Pregnancy significantly increases women’s chances of developing high blood pressure. This condition can lead to more severe health issues like preeclampsia, which is dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
- Gestational Diabetes: Sleep apnea can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and can pose health problems for both a mother and her baby if not properly managed.
- Low Birth Weight: Babies born to mothers with untreated sleep apnea may have a lower birth weight. This is because sleep apnea can affect the amount of oxygen the baby receives, which is crucial for their healthy development.
- Fatigue: Sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime fatigue. This can be particularly challenging during pregnancy, as it may affect a mother’s ability to care for herself and prepare for the baby’s arrival.
- Complications During Delivery: Women with untreated sleep apnea may face more difficulties during delivery. These can include a higher likelihood of needing a cesarean section (C-section) and a greater risk of experiencing complications during the procedure.
Struggling to Sleep Through the Night? Contact Silent Night Therapy Now
Whether you are pregnant or not, good sleep is essential to living a healthy, productive life. The team at Silent Night Therapy can help you address your sleep apnea so you can get the deep, restful sleep you need. Call 631-983-2463 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.