Gestational sleep apnea
Gestational sleep apnea puts women and babies at risk – sleep apnea treatment Bothell area
Many pregnant women feel tired throughout the day. Both women and their doctors often believe that this is simply a normal symptom of pregnancy. However, new research suggests that many of them may actually be suffering from a very common syndrome: gestational sleep apnea.
What is gestational sleep apnea?
When a woman has obstructive sleep apnea that develops during the period of her pregnancy, that is gestational sleep apnea. Some women already have obstructive sleep apnea before becoming pregnant, while others develop it during the pregnancy.
While it has previously been believed that about 1 to 10% of pregnant women have sleep apnea, recent studies suggest that up to 25% of all pregnant women have gestational sleep apnea. However, it’s very often undiagnosed, because both doctors and women tend to attribute daytime sleepiness in pregnant women to the pregnancy itself rather than seeking to find a cause for the fatigue.
What complications can it cause?
Women who have obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to be at a higher risk for a variety of medical problems. A recent study found that pregnant women with OSA had nearly triple the risk for admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). This is where people with very serious, life-threatening medical problems are admitted to the hospital.
Women with sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from pregnancy-related health problems, such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. These conditions can cause serious complications for both the mother and the baby. Additionally, they had a higher risk of severe heart and lung problems. There was also a higher risk for requiring a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus); in pregnant women, this is usually performed to stop severe bleeding during delivery.
In addition, OSA causes an increased risk of adverse outcomes for the baby. Babies whose mothers have sleep apnea have a higher risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and low Apgar score (a measure of the baby’s health at the time of birth).
Should pregnant women get a sleep apnea evaluation?
Given the potential risks, pregnant women who are feeling tired throughout the day should receive an evaluation for sleep apnea. Failure to treat this condition could lead to serious, and even life-threatening, complications. Although some pregnant women who are tired may indeed be experiencing a normal symptom of pregnancy, it’s very important not to simply dismiss this symptom, but to treat it as a potential sign of a medical problem. To determine whether a pregnant woman’s daytime sleepiness is severe enough to warrant further investigation, the Epworth Sleep Test can be used for screening.
To diagnose sleep apnea, the traditional method has been to do a sleep study in a sleep lab. Some pregnant women have trouble committing to spending a night away from home. This hassle may prevent them from getting the recommended testing. A home sleep study, which allows patients to sleep in their own beds while wearing a few pieces of monitoring equipment, may be a much more viable alternative.
Sleep apnea treatment Bothell area
If you’re seeking sleep apnea treatment around the Bothell, WA, area, please visit us at Mill Creek Sleep Dentistry. We provide oral device treatment for sleep apnea patients. Because it’s so comfortable and is much less expensive than a CPAP machine, oral device treatment may be ideal for pregnant women. We also offer the convenience of a home sleep study. Pregnant women can have their sleep apnea testing in the comfort of their own beds, rather than having to go through the discomfort and hassle of going to a sleep lab for a night. To schedule your appointment, please contact our office.