Sleep apnea, also called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a condition in which the sufferer actually stops breathing repeatedly during sleep, often for a minute a longer. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases and blood vessels expand. This can lead to swollen nasal membranes which, when combined with higher levels of estrogen and the extra weight, especially in the third trimester, all increase the risk of sleep apnea.
It’s been recently noted that sleep apnea has been associated with a large variety of other disorders, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and mortality in non-pregnant apnea suffers, but now this new study brings up new concerns.
The researchers searched medical records and identified 150 pregnant women who have been tested for obstructive sleep apnea at home using a portable device. Around 15% of these pregnant women had obstructive apnea and were more likely to be heavier and also have chronic high blood pressure than the women without sleep apnea. The study further showed that the pregnant patients with sleep apnea required C-sections 65% of the time. Also, 42% of these women with sleep apnea had preeclampsia compared with 17% without sleep apnea.
Now, it needs to be noted that as with almost all of the studies only a connection and symptoms is being drawn here. It is rare that a direct cause has been found to link apnea with the many disorders it shares links to. However, it harkens back to the old adage, if it walks like a duck…
If you think you may have sleep apnea consult Austin Dentist Dr. Matthews as soon as possible. He can help you in conjunction with your doctor as to how to best address symptoms you’re having and lead you down the correct path to diagnosis and treatment. Often times we see our dentists more frequently than our primary care physicians so dentists have a higher chance of catching this disorder. Because of this, Dr. Matthews is well aware of the signs and dangers associated with sleep apnea and can help you find a sleep study for a proper diagnosis.
If you’re pregnant, bear in mind that you’re deciding for two and leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the health of your baby is the upmost importance.