You have enough things to worry about during pregnancy that sleep might seem like the only escape. However, you also need to note any abnormalities you might experience during your quality shut-eye. Sleep apnea is a condition that affects over 30 million Americans, and that risk is even more significant when you’re pregnant. Our guide to the dangers of sleep apnea during pregnancy will give you an idea of what you need to know.
Due to all the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can rear its ugly head and possibly go undiagnosed because it mirrors pregnancy side effects. Physical red flags include heartburn, nausea, and headaches, whereas depression and anxiety will affect you emotionally. These symptoms tend to worsen over time, which is why it’s critical to be proactive if you’re struggling with those side effects now.
Recognizing these red flags is vital, since untreated sleep apnea may lead to long-term issues. Pregnant women with sleep apnea have a heightened risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and even premature delivery.
What To Do Next?
Discussing your sleeping habits with a specialist will give them a better understanding of the issue at hand. Letting them know how you feel when you first wake up will also give them insight into the problem. Additionally, if you sleep next to a partner, they might know some things you don’t know.
After that discussion, the physician will get some vitals, such as your blood pressure, weight, and oxygen levels. If those figures are concerning, a sleep study can determine if you have sleep apnea. Polysomnograms will observe you while you sleep, noting your heart rate, sleep cycles, and breathing.
If you receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, it may scare you that you have the potential to stop breathing in your sleep. Luckily, there are ways to combat complications of sleep apnea. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the most effective option to regulate your breathing to give you a good night’s sleep. It’s essential to use your sleep apnea machine as prescribed, which usually means six hours a night. Therefore, it’s always important to have a CPAP station, even if you’re traveling. Getting used to sleeping with an obtrusive mask on may take a while, but it will allow you to sleep uninterrupted, resulting in more energy, decreased risk of troubling conditions, and a better overall mental state.
Knowing the dangers of sleep apnea during pregnancy will help you take a self-assessment of your sleeping habits. Getting checked out if you suffer from any of those signs is wise, so don’t hesitate.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.