Women who are pregnant and have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may face a number of health risks. Also, about 20 percent of pregnant women are struggling with obstructive sleep apnea and don’t even know it.
According to Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, sleep apnea during pregnancy can increase blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. This condition can also increase the risk of needing a C-section, having complications with anesthesia, and possibly a longer labor.
Some scholarly articles have even suggested a relationship between OSA and miscarriage.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy
It is hard to diagnose OSA during pregnancy, because the symptoms of OSA may overlap with the normal changes that come with being pregnant. Common side effects of pregnancy include headaches, heartburn, morning sickness, and changes in emotional health. This can also be a side effect of OSA.
You can be examined for common risk factors of OSA including a neck circumference greater than 16 inches, being overweight, having high blood pressure, and a low blood oxygen level. If you have any of these factors, you should contact our sleep apnea dentist in 21061 today.
Studies on OSA in Pregnancy
There have been studies conducted in pregnancy that report snoring steadily increasing through the three trimesters. Snoring three or more nights a week increases from 7-11 percent in the first trimester to 16-25 percent in the third trimester.
Although there are no published trials of treatment of OSA in pregnancy, there have been observational studies which suggest treatment can reduce blood pressure and improve the outcome of pregnancy.
Tips to Prevent Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
It can be helpful if a woman sleeps on her side, and also patients with a mild form of OSA may benefit from sleeping with their head/upper body elevated. A mouth guard may be a good option as well.
Talking with our doctor about maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy is also a great way to take charge in preventing sleep apnea. If you struggle with sleep issues, don’t suffer any longer, contact our sleep apnea clinic in Glen Burnie, MD today and schedule a consultation.