Can sleep apnea affect pregnancy or is there really nothing to worry about? The truth is, sleep apnea can affect a pregnancy. It can cause issues for the mom, and if the problem is severe enough, it can pose a risk to the fetus as well. If you are pregnant and struggling to sleep, you may want to consider getting checked for apnea. Should you have this ailment, the sooner you treat it, the better. This goes for anyone, as untreated apnea can lead to a wide array of problems. However, if you are pregnant and struggle with it, it affects both of you.
The simple answer is yes. Apnea is when you struggle to breathe while asleep. Some people stop breathing for a moment, while others stop for much longer. The longer you go between breaths, the worse the apnea diagnosis usually is. It takes going through a sleep study to get a diagnosis. From there, you must look into treatment options.
When pregnant, the risk of struggling with apnea is higher than when you are not pregnant. This is because of the hormones your body has rushing through it during a pregnancy. While pregnant, you create far more estrogen than when you are not pregnant. This can cause smaller tissues, like those in your nasal passages, to become swollen. This can lead to struggles while breathing, and apnea episodes.
While you should never sleep flat on your back during the latter parts of pregnancy, it could also become dangerous if your breathing issue stems from more than swollen tissues. Obstructive sleep apnea is when something actually obstructs your ability to breathe. This is a common apnea diagnosis, and the reason is typically the throat or tongue. If you were to lay down on your back, you may not be able to breathe properly. If you combine that with the pressure you put on your body in that position, your baby may not get enough oxygen. This is a situation you always want to avoid.
If you do not get apnea treated, it can cause a lot of problems. First, you will not get enough sleep to keep up with your daily routine while pregnant. Creating a human being is exhausting on its own. When you add poor sleep into the mix, it becomes a lot worse. Your body needs extra sleep to help the baby grow and to help keep you strong during the process. Second, your coordination will decrease even more. The further into your pregnancy you get, the clumsier you will get. If you are not getting restful sleep, that will increase dramatically. This could put you in a situation where you hurt yourself or your baby.
Third, have you heard of the pregnancy brain? When pregnant, you lose IQ points temporarily as your mind is consumed with so many pregnancy-related things. You lose some of your ability to think clearly. Add in how you think without enough sleep, and this could be at least, worrisome, or at worst, dangerous. Finally, you also increase your chances of developing problems with your body if you struggle with apnea. This is true for those who are not pregnant as well. With apnea, you increase the chance of developing problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, having a stroke, getting heart disease, and more. This puts a lot of strain on your busy body.
These are just some of the problems you may face if you do not treat sleep apnea during pregnancy. The longer the problems persist, the worse they can get. Plus, the further into the pregnancy you go, the harder apnea can be to treat.
When it comes to treating sleep apnea in general, there are a few simple things you can do to start. Sleeping on your side is a good option for many, since sleeping on your back can make the problems worse. However, while pregnant, you should not be on your back anyway, so you have likely already done this. You can also try and lose weight with a typical apnea diagnosis. But again, while pregnant, this is not the route to take.
Some people use what is called a CPAP machine. This puts some pressurized air into your airways and lungs to keep them from collapsing. This is a very good way of treating apnea, but it is not the best option for everyone. The machine is bulky, plus it can be quite loud. That can make it harder for some people to sleep. You need to also wear a mask when using the CPAP machine, which is not a good idea if you struggle with morning sickness.
One of the best options for treating sleep apnea during pregnancy is by turning to an oral appliance. They are simple devices that change the way your jaw sits while you sleep. They are totally silent, easy to get, and help you get more restful sleep the very first night you have them. It can give you the ability to sleep and avoid most, if not all of the side effects of having apnea.
When you are ready to get an oral appliance for sleep apnea treatment, you simply need to contact the office of Mark Levy, DDS. He and his highly skilled staff know how to get the process going for you. You start by making an appointment to come in for a mold of your mouth. Once the mold is done, it goes to a lab that will create the appliance. After about three weeks, you come back in, so they can check it fits as it should. Then, you go home and get a good night’s sleep. It really is that simple!