Don’t Let Your Child Suffer
Carrying a child is a physically demanding task, but mothers who suffer from sleep apnea — a sleep disorder that affects the amount of oxygen received while sleeping — experience even more challenges.
Dr. Schumacher is an expert sleep specialist who has dedicated his career to identifying, treating, and preventing sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. If you live in Farmington, NM or nearby, contact our office at 505-427-2936 to schedule a consultation today. Get the help you and your expected child deserves.
Sleep Apnea, Snoring, & Pregnancy
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your throat relax while you sleep, resulting in a collapsed airway which restricts the flow of oxygen to the lungs. Typically, we associate snoring with sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores has the disorder.
Pregnant women who experience aggressive snoring might suffer from sleep apnea. When we say aggressive, we don’t just mean loud. Partners have noted that it sounds like the sleep apnea sufferer is choking or gasping in their sleep. If this sounds like something you or a loved one is dealing with, it might be a sign of a much larger issue.
The Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
The signs of sleep apnea in pregnant women include:
- Continuous headaches
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Nighttime heartburn
- Fatigue in the morning
- Restlessness at night
While many of these symptoms can be associated with pregnancy, Dr. Schumacher recommends playing it safe. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact our office right away.
Sleep Apnea Affects Your Unborn Child
Sleep apnea is a severe medical condition that requires professional help. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, hypertension, and unplanned Cesarean sections. Women have also encountered prolonged labor and fetal growth restrictions.
Pregnant women severely affected by sleep apnea might develop obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), which occurs when an overweight person fails to breathe sufficiently. When this happens, your blood carbon dioxide levels rise, and your blood sugar levels drop — both of which can be detrimental to both your health and the health of your unborn baby.
Treating Pregnancy-Related Sleep Apnea
Identifying and treating sleep apnea as early as possible is essential to ensure that neither the mother or fetus are harmed. The most common form of treatment is known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), but most people who try it can’t deal with the restrictive mask and the loud sound it produces.
If you’re not comfortable with CPAP, we offer alternatives, including:
- Positional Therapy — In mild cases of sleep apnea, we can mitigate the symptoms by having the mother sleep on her side.
- Oral Appliance Therapy — An oral appliance is a customized device that you wear like a mouthguard while you sleep. It works by slightly shifting the jaw forward and holding the tongue in a position which keeps the airway open. This treatment is preferred by most patients who’ve also tried CPAP.
- Upper Airway Surgery — In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary. If the baby isn’t receiving the proper amount of oxygen, the mother may need a tracheostomy or another form of surgery. We want to stress that this form of treatment is only for emergencies or after we exhaust all other options.
Continuous Sleep for You & Your Child
At Desert Hills Dental Care, we understand the gravity of the effects of sleep apnea on pregnant women. Without the proper treatment, the mother and unborn baby face a serious risk of developing health complications.
While a physician must diagnose your sleep apnea, Dr. Schumacher can help identify the signs of the disorder and recommend a qualified physician if you don’t already have one. Once you have a diagnosis, you can return to our Farmington office where we’ll create a custom-fitted oral appliance to restore your sleep pattern. Schedule a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use CPAP during pregnancy?
Women with pre-existing OSA and established CPAP treatment should continue with their treatment plan during pregnancy. CPAP may need to be readjusted around the 24-week mark of pregnancy due to induced nasal congestion and an increased BMI.
During pregnancy, women who have untreated sleep apnea should immediately seek help to prevent any possible health consequences from occurring, both for themselves and their unborn baby.
Can sleep apnea harm an unborn baby?
Women with untreated sleep apnea during pregnancy face several health risks. According to research, women with sleep apnea are more likely to develop preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition, while pregnant. Babies born to women with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to be delivered via cesarean section and be admitted to neonatal intensive care units.
This is why it’s crucial to seek diagnosis and proper treatment for sleep disorders. If you’re pregnant and feel you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call our Farmington practice at (505) 427-2936 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Schumacher.