Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
When people think of sleep apnea, they tend to associate it with snoring, but not everyone who snores has it. Partners of patients with sleep apnea have noted that it sounds like their partner is choking or gasping breathlessly in their sleep.
Another common symptom of sleep apnea is waking up feeling restless and fatigued. These symptoms can be difficult to spot during pregnancy due to the natural stress carrying a baby has on your body. If you find that you can’t regularly stay awake in the afternoons or doze off while driving, then please contact Dr. Roberta Garceau today.
Other signs of sleep apnea that you might experience include waking up with a headache or dry mouth, nighttime heartburn, and frequent urination. These signs can also compare with pregnancy, but if you’ve noticed these are an ongoing problem, it doesn’t hurt to contact our Windsor sleep dentist with any questions or concerns.
Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea on Your Expected Child
Sleep Apnea, when left untreated, has been associated with a plethora of pregnancy complications including gestational hypertension, diabetes, unplanned Caesarean sections, fetal growth restrictions, and prolonged labor. Women severely affected by sleep apnea can develop obesity hypoventilation syndrome, which is when dangerously overweight people fail to breathe rapidly enough. This can result in low blood sugar levels and high blood carbon dioxide levels, which can be harmful to you and your baby.
Fortunately, Dr. Roberta Garceau and our staff will help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
Pregnancy-Related Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treating sleep apnea is especially important during pregnancy because of the effects it has on the mother and fetus. The treatment option that is most widely used is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), but there are alternative options for patients that can’t adjust to their CPAP machines.
Tip: Have the mother sleep on her side in order to mitigate the adverse effects of sleep apnea. This method of positional therapy will prevent her from snoring and lower her chances of a sleep apnea related complication arising.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about half of the patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are obese. If you are substantially bigger or are having twins (triplets, quadruplets, etc.), then the use of a BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) machine may be more suitable. The pressure applied from these machines will need to be adjusted as the pregnancy progresses and weight is gained.
In some extreme cases, the use of surgical procedures, such as a tracheostomy will be required in order to ensure the mother and child are receiving the correct amount of oxygen. However, no type of surgery is preferred because of the risk of adverse outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use CPAP during pregnancy?
Women with pre-existing OSA and established CPAP treatment should continue with their treatment plan during pregnancy. CPAP may need to be readjusted around the 24-week mark of pregnancy due to induced nasal congestion and an increased BMI.
Women who have untreated OSA during pregnancy should immediately seek help to prevent any possible health consequences from occurring to both themselves and their unborn baby.
Can sleep apnea harm an unborn baby?
Women with untreated sleep apnea during pregnancy face several health risks to themselves, as well as their unborn child. According to research, women with sleep apnea are more likely to develop preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition, while pregnant. Babies born to women with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to be delivered via cesarean section and be admitted to neonatal intensive care units.
This is why it’s crucial to seek diagnosis and proper treatment for sleep disorders. If you’re pregnant and feel you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call our Windsor, CT practice at 860-254-6189 and we’ll coordinate with your physician.
Breathe Better While You’re Breathing for Two
Sleep apnea can lead to long-term health complications for you and your baby if left untreated. Quality sleep is essential for your overall physical and mental well-being, so seeking treatment to reclaim your sleep can make all the difference during your pregnancy. If you want to learn more about snoring and sleep apnea treatments that are appropriate during pregnancy, please call our Windsor office at 860-254-6189 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment with our sleep dentist, Dr. Roberta Garceau.