In a recent study, researchers discovered certain factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing sleep apnea while pregnant. The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and appeared in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, not only determined the specific risk factors but is also helping researchers understand which tests and treatments can aid women if they suffer from the condition while pregnant.
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy life. This is especially true for both pregnant women and their unborn babies. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the airways in your throat become obstructed while you’re sleeping. This happens either as a partial or full blockage and can severely limit the amount of air your lungs receive. In extreme cases, those who suffer from sleep apnea can stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time and dozens of times each night.
When your lungs don’t receive the proper amount of air it can have many negative effects on the brain and body. A host of symptoms can occur from sleep apnea such as fatigue, chronic headaches, and depression. Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of other serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea. According to the study mentioned above, there are three main factors that increase a pregnant woman’s risk for sleep apnea, these include:
- Chronic snoring more than three times a week
- Older age while pregnant
- Being overweight or obese
According to the study, of 3,264 women who were in early pregnancy, 3.6 percent had sleep apnea and of 2,512 women in mid-pregnancy, 8.3 percent had sleep apnea. Because researchers were able to determine the risk factors, they were able to develop a tool to determine the potential risk for a given person in the hopes that obstetric doctors can detect the condition early and refer the patient to a specialist.
At Wood Creek Dental, we take sleep apnea seriously, especially for our pregnant patients. We work with a board-certified sleep physician who can properly diagnose your condition. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, we will develop an appropriate treatment plan to help you get back to restful, healthy nights of sleep for you and your baby.
If you’re pregnant and want to learn more about the risks of sleep apnea, please call our Greenville office at 864-288-5300 or our Landrum office at 864-457-3425 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve these areas of South Carolina.