Pregnancy and Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know

Pregnancy and Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know

If you’re pregnant, your body may produce hormones that make you sleepy. As a result, it can be difficult to stay awake and alert, especially if you have no place where you can get away from everyone else and be alone.

Lack of sleep can also make it even harder to concentrate and pay attention to your daily activities. And it's linked with several serious health conditions for both mother and child. That’s because poor sleep habits negatively impact how the brain processes information and how well the cardiovascular, digestive, reproductive, respiratory, urinary, skeletal muscles, skin, hair follicles, and nerves function.

It's common knowledge that sleep is difficult to come by when you're expecting a child. However, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects roughly 20% of expecting mothers, many of whom are unaware that they have the condition. Here are some things that may indicate that you are struggling with sleep apnea during pregnancy.

Lack of Sleep is Associated with an Increase in Blood Pressure

People who don’t get enough sleep have higher blood pressure. This increase in blood pressure can put you at risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure because the condition can lead to hyperarousal and a disruption in blood pressure regulation. If you have high blood pressure, you should see your doctor to discuss the possibility of being diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea.

People with Sleep Apnea Often Have Constipation

Sleep apnea can cause you to lose water and salt from your body. This, in turn, can trigger constipation. It's also associated with an increased risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by spasms, cramps, and pain in the lower part of your abdomen. Sleep apnea and constipation are also linked to each other because the lack of sleep can lead to dehydration and a decrease in intestinal activity.

Lack of Sleep is a Risk Factor for Stillbirth and Premature Birth

For the developing fetus, sleep is important to ensure that the baby gets enough nutrients and oxygen. When you have sleep apnea, you may not be able to breathe when you are sleeping. This means that you may be depriving your body of the oxygen it needs.

Lack of sleep during pregnancy is also linked to an increased risk of premature birth. Premature birth is often linked to complications that may be life-threatening for the baby, such as breathing problems, brain deformity, and heart defects.

Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy May Cause Severe Pain

As many as 10 percent of pregnant women are diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes you to stop breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep. In addition to causing fatigue, lack of sleep may lead to abdominal pain, back pain, headache, joint pain, suppressed immunity, and an increase in infections.

Severe sleep apnea can cause severe abdominal pain, ulcers in the mouth, back pain, joint pain, headache, suppressed immunity, and an increase in infections. Because sleep apnea makes you more vulnerable to tissue damage during pregnancy, it is also associated with pregnancy pain.

Treatment for Pregnant Women with Sleep Apnea

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms discussed above, you should talk to your doctor. Many women with sleep apnea experience fatigue and low energy levels during pregnancy. Sleep apnea may be the reason you are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

You may have to make some changes to your daily schedule to get more sleep. Make sure that you don’t have any bright lights or loud noises in your bedroom. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Use a maternity pillow to help with snoring and sleep apnea. You also need to make sure that you are getting enough rest. If your doctor recommends a sleep study to help determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea, make an appointment as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial to point out that sleep apnea may also occur in non-pregnant adults. It is a severe health problem that may occur during pregnancy, however, it is also a condition that may occur in non-pregnant adults.

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, you must talk to your doctor. Treatment may include having a sleep study to get an accurate diagnosis, taking sleep apnea medications, and/or managing your symptoms with lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and bright lights in your bedroom.

Your doctor may recommend that you see a doctor who specializes in women’s health.

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