Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman sleeping peacefully in the bedroomPregnancy is notoriously famous for causing some annoying side effects, like heartburn and swollen ankles. Yet another annoying part of pregnancy can be trouble sleeping. For some women, though, not sleeping well is not just annoying – it can be dangerous. Read on for some information on why sleep habits change during pregnancy and why it is important to tell your doctor about any sleep problems you may be having.

How does pregnancy affect sleep?

Your body is going through so many changes during pregnancy, and many of these changes contribute to not sleeping well. When you gain weight, you may accumulate extra tissue around your head and neck, which can lead to snoring. Estrogen and progesterone changes can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell. Both of these changes may cause you to start snoring even though you never snored before, or you may snore more loudly than you used to. Sleep apnea is another, more serious, problem that can develop when you are pregnant. It typically happens around the sixth month. In sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep for a very brief time, disrupting your sleep. You may wake up gasping for air, and you may snore. You may not even realize that you were waking up all night, but doing so will make you tired the next day.

What can be done about pregnancy sleep apnea?

Besides making you tired all the time, when you stop breathing as you sleep – even though it is very brief – it drops the oxygen level in the blood. Sleep apnea during pregnancy has been linked to gestational hypertension and diabetes, and that is why it is so important to let your doctor know if you are having sleep issues. He or she may recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help you get the proper amount of air as you sleep or another treatment such as oral appliance therapy.

It is important to get enough sleep when you are pregnant, and if you think you might have sleep apnea it is important to get help as soon as you can. Contact Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich, CT. Call 203-245-0412 for an appointment today!

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