Sleep Apnea While Pregrant: Are Pregnant Women at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea While Pregrant: Are Pregnant Women at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Yes. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects 15%-20% of obese pregnant women. A study in 2014 noted that 50% of pregnant women are overweight or obese, so roughly 10% of all pregnant women suffer from Sleep Apnea. 

The prevalence of OSA has serious implications for the health of the mother and the fetus – during and after pregnancy. A third of women report snoring in the third trimester caused by changes in the upper airway. Lack of oxygen can lead to chronic hypertension; gestational hypertension; preeclampsia; gestational diabetes; and cardiomyopathy. 

Chronic sleep disturbance, nocturnal hypoxemia, and the neuroendocrine alterations associated with OSA may be associated with impaired fetal growth and well-being in late pregnancy. Even mild OSA may impact fetal growth. Sleep apnea, researchers warn, may be a significant contributing factor to stillbirth.

The good news is that effective treatment can help prevent the complications of sleep apnea. Compared to CPAP, many find oral appliances easier to use than CPAP. Our studies have confirmed that the compliance rate with oral appliances is very good.

If you think you’re at risk for sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with a BlueSleep Specialist to properly diagnose and treat your sleep apnea.

Here’s some topline clinical research:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pregnant Women: A Review of Pregnancy Outcomes and an Approach to Management

While it has been shown that untreated OSA in postmenopausal women is associated with a range of cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic comorbidities, a body of literature is emerging that suggests OSA may also have serious implications for the health of mothers and fetuses during and after pregnancy.

Effects of Maternal Obstructive Sleep Apnoea on Fetal Growth: A Prospective Cohort Study

OSA may be associated with reduced fetal growth in late pregnancy. Further evaluation is warranted to establish whether OSA may be an important contributor to adverse perinatal outcome, including stillbirth.

Mild Maternal Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Non-obese Pregnant Women and Accelerated Fetal Growth

Our results suggest that maternal OSA in pregnancy — even in a mild form — is associated with accelerated fetal growth that is expressed in several dimensions of growth such as weight, length and adiposity. These findings have significant clinical implications since accelerated fetal growth may affect the health of both the mother and the baby and may predispose the baby to abnormal growth later in life.

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