Pregnancy and Sleep ApneaAre you ready to plan a family? If you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea… you’ll want to continue the treatment plan you’ve set up with your medical professional and let your OBGYN know about it. If you don’t suffer from sleep apnea… you should know that breathing during your sleep cycle may change while you are pregnant. Your partner may notice a clear progression from soft to loud snoring, and even pauses of breathing, which can be diagnosed as sleep apnea. The condition can occur during pregnancy and has some clearly-recognized symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Shortness of breath during the sleep cycle
  • Waking up choking, snorting, or gasping
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness/ drowsiness
  • Frequent urination at night

Sleep apnea affects 10% of pregnant women. Luckily, the overall risk of developing it during pregnancy is low, due to the levels of progesterone being so high during pregnancy, which is an apparent protective state, since the hormone activates muscles that dilate the airway. Also, progesterone increases the brain’s responsiveness to carbon dioxide levels, and the delivery of oxygen to the body’s tissues, which also improves with increased heart rate and enlargement of the peripheral blood vessels. Since physical discomfort is associated with late pregnancy, most women don’t sleep on their backs, which is associated with an increased risk of sleep apnea. It is important to treat pregnancy-related sleep apnea, as it can contribute to adverse consequences in both the mother and fetus. If you think you may have this condition, please contact us. We can help.