When you’re pregnant, it may lead to changes in breathing while you’re asleep. Your breathing pattern may change from soft to loud snoring, and pauses or disruptions in breathing. This condition is called sleep apnea and has certain risk factors and symptoms during pregnancy.
Here’s what you should know about sleep apnea and how it affects the health of both mother and the baby:
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea during Pregnancy
The severity and frequency of snoring progressively increases during pregnancy. When the airway is further disturbed, it may cause sleep apnea. One of the most tell-tale signs of sleep apnea is pauses in breathing during sleep that lasts for at least 10 seconds, and that are associated with awakenings, as well as drops in oxygen levels of the blood.
Certain women are at a higher risk for developing this condition. It is estimated that at least 10% of all pregnant women may develop sleep apnea. It occurs more often in:
- Women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy
- Those who gain excessive weight during pregnancy
- Women with a large neck size
- Women who have nasal congestion due to high levels of progesterone
- Women who have high exposure to smoking
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea during Pregnancy
Women who have sleep apnea in pregnancy develop symptoms that are similar to other conditions, when it occurs in other contexts. These symptoms include:
- Breathing pauses or shortness of breath in sleep
- Waking with choking, snorting, or gasping
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Frequent urination at night
These symptoms are likely to get worse after sixth months of pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to seek evaluation from a sleep specialist. High-risk women who have obesity, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and intrauterine growth retardation should be evaluated by a qualified doctor.
Ways to prevent Sleep Apnea during Pregnancy
If you’re experiencing fatigue and drowsiness through the day, talk to your doctor about it. They may help you with ways to overcome or prevent sleep apnea. Some of them include:
- Refraining from sleeping on your back during pregnancy. Your doctor may ask you to sleep on your left side instead.
- If your weight is the cause behind your sleep apnea, discuss safe weight loss plans with your doctor. Discuss some safe exercises or meet a nutritionist to help aid you with weight loss.
- Certain breathing strips are available that can help control sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor about it.
- A saline spray or humidifier can help open up a blocked nasal passage.
- If your sleep apnea gets worse, your doctor may give you a mask that fits over your nose. This mask will have a small connecting pump to provide a steady flow of air and helps keep your airway open.
If you suspect that you have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea during pregnancy, contact your doctor to discuss the required tests and treatment to help you breathe easier. Our team of experts at KIMS Cuddles is always happy to help.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.