How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Pregnancy

Are You Having Trouble Sleeping?

Have you noticed yourself tossing and turning throughout the night and struggling to sleep well? While this could be due to the natural changes that your body goes through during pregnancy, it could also be a sign of a possible sleep disorder. 

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that can affect your day-to-day life as well as your child’s development. If you have sleep apnea, your airway becomes obstructed during sleep, causing you to frequently wake up gasping for air. It’s important to find an effective solution to sleep apnea to protect the health of you and your unborn child.

woman sleeping

The Signs of Pregnancy-Related Sleep Apnea

Living with untreated sleep apnea can cause secondary health problems, so it’s important to be aware of its signs and symptoms. Patients who have a family history of sleep apnea, are overweight, or have a large neck circumference are at a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder.

Contact Dr. Slobodinsky if you notice any of the following sleep apnea signs:

  • Snoring
  • Frequently waking up throughout the night
  • Gasping for air in the middle of the night
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Consistent headaches

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Unborn Baby

Sleep apnea not only impacts you and your body but your unborn baby’s well-being too. Since your body provides essential nutrients to your baby, a sudden change in oxygen or blood pressure can cause problems. Secondary health conditions caused by sleep apnea can include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Pregnant women suffering from sleep apnea may experience major health risk factors, such as:

  • Gestational diabetes – an increased level of glucose in the blood
  • Preeclampsia – high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Lower-blood oxygen levels
  • Maternal obesity
  • An increased risk of cesarean section
  • Pulmonary edema – excess fluid in the lungs
  • Increased risk of the newborn needing to be admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit

Our Effective Treatment Options

If you feel you may be suffering from sleep apnea during your pregnancy, the best way to find out is by undergoing a sleep study. Your results will allow our Philadelphia team to target your sleep apnea symptoms and find the most effective treatment for you. 

The traditional sleep apnea treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, but many patients find that alternative options, such as customized oral appliances, work better for them. Dr. Slobodinsky creates custom-designed oral appliances to counteract the effects of sleep apnea in your body. These discreet, comfortable appliances allow you to sleep without a mask or loud machine next to you. 

At your appointment with Dr. Slobodinsky, he’ll talk to you about all our treatment options and explain the benefits in detail. He’ll also suggest that you maintain a regular exercise routine to help improve your sleep. If you have any questions or concerns, he’ll always make sure to address them and give you the answers you’re looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a CPAP machine safe to use while pregnant?
Am I more at risk for sleep apnea if pregnant?
How I do know if I have sleep apnea?
Is a CPAP machine safe to use while pregnant?

Yes, you can safely use a CPAP machine while pregnant. There are studies that suggest that CPAP machines are effective at treating sleep apnea in pregnant women.

Am I more at risk for sleep apnea if pregnant?

Unfortunately, pregnant women do face a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) due to heightened estrogen levels in the body that result in swelling of the membranes, causing congestion and blockages.

How I do know if I have sleep apnea?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, interrupted sleep, irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentration and focusing while awake. These symptoms can be attributed to a variety of other issues, so Dr. Slobodinsky recommends a sleep study to most accurately diagnose sleep apnea.

Visit Dr. Slobodinsky for Sleep Apnea Solutions

Ready to get the sleep you need during your pregnancy? Dr. Slobodinsky can help. Contact our Philadelphia office by calling (215) 739-2543 to schedule your consultation. You can also fill out our online contact form and one of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible.