Sleeping during pregnancy can become harder and harder when growing a baby. Although acquiring more sleep disturbances is normal, having or developing sleep apnea can be dangerous for mom and baby.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is a sleep breathing disorder in which a person stops breathing while they sleep. The tissues in the throat collapse, cutting off the airway despite efforts to breathe.
The person will partially awaken in order to breathe, leading to a non-refreshing sleep every night. Even worse, when the airway collapses and oxygen is cut off, the body goes into a fight-or-flight response. Lack of oxygen puts a strain on the heart and increases blood pressure.
For common osa signs, see sleep apnea symptoms.
Risks from OSA during Pregnancy
According to multiple studies, pregnant women with OSA have a higher chance for complications.
In one ATS study, 1,577,636 pregnant women’s medical records were analyzed. Those with an OSA diagnosis had a longer hospital stay, and more admissions to the ICU.
There was also an increased risk of hypertensive conditions like preeclampsia and eclampsia. As well as a higher chance of gestational diabetes.
Another study from the University of South Florida says that compared to pregnant women without OSA, those with the condition are five times more likely to die in the hospital.
The research also says that sleep apnea during pregnancy can include abnormally high blood pressure, blood clots, and an enlarged heart.
See more articles examining the risks sleep apnea in pregnancy poses.
Sleep apnea is treatable during pregnancy. There is no reason anyone needs to suffer from these serious complications and many others.
There are screening tools that can easily identify if a pregnant women has OSA. Depending on the severity, best treatment options are the CPAP machine or Oral Appliance Therapy.
Read more about sleep apnea during pregnancy and what you can do.