Are you yawning through your day since you announced your pregnancy? Are you waking up with a throbbing headache since your conception?
While nausea and fatigue are common complaints during pregnancy, another extremely common condition is sleep apnea. If you have been experiencing unusual sleep disturbance of late, it could probably be sleep apnea. Pregnant with sleep apnea can be a very dangerous condition. Read on to know more.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing stops for a few seconds during sleep. Instead of regularly breathing, you pause in between and resume again. The irregular breathing pattern may be repeating a number of times through the night.
[ Read: Nausea During Pregnancy ]
Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy:
Sleep apnea is extremely common during pregnancy. More than 45% women suffer from it during their pregnancy. Sleep apnea during pregnancy can be quite dangerous for both you and your baby as it deprives your body of oxygen.
What Are The Side Effects Of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy?
Sleep apnea can be a very dangerous condition while you are pregnant. Here is what all you should know about sleep apnea and pregnancy complications:
1. It lowers your blood oxygen levels each time you stop breathing.
2. It increases your chances of having high blood pressure, depression, heart failure, obesity, stroke or even heart attack.
3. It also increases your chances of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Both these conditions are extremely dangerous for your baby.
4. It often increases the possibility of a C-section.
5. It puts your baby at risk. The doctor may advise keeping your newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit for breathing related problems.
[ Read: Breathing Problem During Pregnancy ]
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy:
If you are experiencing sleep apnea, it is unlikely that you will wake up on your own. In most cases, your partner or the person sleeping close to you will notice the symptoms before you do.
- You will be prone to snoring loudly.
- You will suddenly be gasping for air.
- You will experience excessive fatigue during the day.
- You may fall asleep during routine activities like chores, reading, watching TV or even driving.
- You will become irritable and suffer from mood swings.
- You will start forgetting things and become restless.
- You may wake up with a dull or pounding headache in the morning.
[ Read: Snoring During Pregnancy ]
What Are The Reasons For Developing Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy?
Sleep apnea is extremely common during pregnancy and here are a few reasons why:
- If you were overweight before you conceived you have a higher chance of being affected with sleep apnea.
- If you have put on a lot of weight during pregnancy, you have a higher chance of being affected with sleep apnea in later trimesters.
- High levels of the hormone estrogen can cause swelling in the mucous membranes that line the nose. It can result in more mucous production and nasal blockage.
- During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood in your body. It causes the expansion of blood vessels and increases the risk of sleep apnea.
[ Read: Safe Weight Loss During Pregnancy ]
How Can I Prevent Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy?
If you are experiencing excessive fatigue and drowsiness through the day, you should talk to your doctor about it. Here are a few things you should take care of to overcome or prevent sleep apnea:
- Your doctor will ask you to refrain from sleeping on your back while you are pregnant. She may advise you to sleep on your left side instead.
- If the reason behind sleep apnea is your weight, you need to talk to your doctor about a safe weight loss plan.
- Your doctor may recommend some safe exercises or refer you to a nutritionist.
- Some breathing strips can help control sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor about it.
- A saline spray or humidifier can help open up a blocked nasal passage.
- In severe cases, your doctor may give you a mask that fits over your nose. The mask will have a small connecting pump to provide a steady flow of air and to keep your airway open.
While fatigue is a very common sign of pregnancy, you need to understand when it is excessive. Sleep apnea is a very dangerous condition, especially for your baby. It is important you discuss this with your partner for possible ways to spot its symptoms at night.
Have you ever experienced pregnancy sleep apnea, do share your experiences here.
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