Although pregnancy is usually an exciting and challenging time for many moms, some women may also experience sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during this period. Sleep disordered breathing in pregnancy can result in daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and other negative effects.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help manage these symptoms and ensure a more restful pregnancy. We’ll explore the effects of sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy and discuss the various lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce its symptoms in this post. With the right approach to managing sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy, expectant mothers can ensure their own health and well-being are taken care of throughout their journey into parenthood.
Overview of Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Pregnancy
Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a syndrome that has been related to several potential negative effects in pregnant moms. Recurrent breathing interruptions during sleep characterize this disorder, which can cause daytime sleepiness, mental fogginess, and other problems. Due to hormonal changes and rapid weight gain, pregnant women may be at a higher risk for having SDB.
The symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing vary; however, they often include loud snoring, daytime weariness, morning headaches, and difficulty falling asleep. Other symptoms include teeth grinding, dry throat, heart racing at night, and dry throat. If not treated, it can have catastrophic effects for both the mother and the child. SDB during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure in the mother, as well as premature birth and low birthweight in the infant.
Many of the signs of this illness are also present in normal pregnancy symptoms, making diagnosis challenging. However, pregnant women should be informed of the hazards so that they can seek medical attention if necessary. To effectively diagnose sleep apnea, a medical professional will typically do a physical examination as well as a polysomnography (sleep study).
Fortunately, you can effectively manage SDB while pregnant. Strategies such as sleeping on your side can help boost airflow when you’re dozing off at night. In addition, lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and eating healthily may also lessen symptoms related to sleep apnea. Alternative therapies like acupuncture or yoga might also prove helpful in handling this disorder too though it's wise always to check with your doctor before starting any new treatments or therapies during pregnancy!
By educating oneself on what sleep-disordered breathing means and taking proactive steps towards controlling its symptoms, expectant mothers can ensure their own wellbeing throughout their prenatal journey into parenthood with greater ease.
Exercise and Diet Changes to Support Sleep Apnea Relief
Exercising on a regular basis can be beneficial for reducing the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and other physical exercise that’s safe for pregnant mothers may help improve airway dilatation and reduce snoring intensity, as well as increase daytime alertness. It’s best to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every day while pregnant.
When it comes to diet changes, pregnant women should aim to reduce their intake of foods that are high in saturated fat like sausage, bacon, steak, and burgers. Increasing dietary fiber has also been proven to help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
Weight management is also important for managing SDB during pregnancy. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than large meals can help keep energy levels stable whilst keeping your weight in check. Reducing stress and anxiety through mindfulness activities such as yoga or meditation can also help improve sleep quality by allowing expectant mothers to relax both physically and mentally before bedtime.
By making small lifestyle adjustments such as exercising regularly, eating healthily, avoiding alcohol before bedtime and reducing stress levels through mindfulness activities, pregnant women can control their SDB symptoms.
How to Reduce Environmental Factors That Affect Sleep
When it comes to getting better sleep during pregnancy, environmental factors can play a major role. It’s important for pregnant women to create an environment that is conducive to restful sleep. This includes choosing the right sleeping surface, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, finding the right sleeping position, reducing exposure to light and sound, maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bedroom, and eliminating distractions.
Choosing the right sleeping surface can make all the difference when it comes to managing sleep apnea symptoms. Pregnant women should opt for a firm mattress with plenty of support. Additionally, they should ensure their pillow is providing enough neck and head support while lying down as this can help reduce snoring. A maternity pillow can be used for extra comfort and support while sleeping on your side.
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is also key when it comes to managing sleep issues during pregnancy. Try going to bed every night, including on weekends, so that your body understands when it's time to sleep. Caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime should be avoided as they can cause discomfort or indigestion while trying to sleep.
Reducing exposure to light and sound before bedtime can also help manage problems with sleep during pregnancy. Investing in blackout curtains or blinds will help create a dark room which encourages melatonin production (essential for quality restful sleep) while soft music or white noise machines can help block out external sounds that could be disruptive during sleep hours such as traffic noise from outside your window or noise from other family members in your home.
Maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bedroom can also have an impact on how well you are able to get restful sleep while pregnant; aim for temperatures between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit (18-22 degrees Celsius). Additionally try opening windows if possible as this will improve air circulation in your bedroom which will help reduce snoring by keeping nasal passages clear throughout the night.
Finally, eliminating distractions such as phones, tablets, television sets and other electronic devices from your bedroom before going to bed will encourage deeper, more restful periods of uninterrupted slumber throughout pregnancy. By avoiding bright screens close to bedtime this will prevent stimulation of blue light which inhibits melatonin production, leading you towards better quality restful nights.
When Does Sleep Apnea Become Serious
When it comes to sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy, the most serious form of sleep apnea, known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), can have serious consequences if left untreated. OSA is defined by a total or partial blockage of the upper airway during sleeping. It causes breathing pauses and could cause considerable weariness over the day. If you are snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, or experiencing extreme exhaustion throughout the day, you should consult your doctor.
Your doctor may also suggest using supportive therapy such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines that can help open up blocked airways while you are sleeping. A constant flow of pressured air is produced by the CPAP machine's compressor (motor) and then directed through a filter and into a flexible tube. This tube connects to a mask that fits over your nose and mouth and pumps purified air into your respiratory system. The CPAP machine's airstream pushes against obstructions while you sleep, allowing fresh air into your lungs. When this supply of air isn't impeded in any way, you don't experience any pauses in your breathing. This means you won't have to keep waking up during the night to resume breathing.
Additionally, alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy may help improve symptoms associated with sleep apnea. Other holistic methods include yoga breathing exercises and relaxation techniques which can help promote restful sleeping habits during pregnancy. Breathing techniques in yoga have been shown to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms by opening the upper airway muscles, lowering stress levels and calming the mind.
Medical disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to be a substitute for expert medical advice, diagnosis, or care. Always ask your doctor or another qualified health provider for advice if you have any concerns about a medical issue. Never dismiss or put off getting expert medical advice because of something you read on Bub’s Blog. babybub does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on this site.