The dangers of sleep apnea have become better known and understood in recent years. We know that it affects millions of Americans every year and can be exacerbated by weight and fitness issues. We also know about the associated health risks. A new study now has indicated that the condition can be dangerous to pregnant women and their fetus.
When a person suffers from sleep apnea, they also suffer fatigue and tiredness from a lack of sleep. In addition, they are in danger of other health issues due to oxygen deprivation that results from the associated difficulty breathing during the night. Such conditions present a host of health issues including emotional problems, difficulty with focus, hypersomnia and even increased risk of cardiovascular issues. In pregnant women, these problems can be even worse, and can endanger the fetus.
Sleep Deprivation and Pregnancy
Sleep apnea in pregnant women presents a host of health issues for both the mother and her growing child. This is because untreated sleep disorders can result in oxygen deprivation in both mom and baby. The lack of oxygen results in the child not getting the necessary nutrients it needs to develop in a healthy way, and can result in complications even after the child is born.
Children whose mothers suffered from sleep apnea while pregnant are at a much higher risk for metabolic syndrome, weight problems such as obesity and even diabetes and other health issues. The issue is not one to be taken lightly, according to the study from Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Treating the Problem
One of the major factors associated with sleep apnea is weight gain. This could be partially why many pregnant women experience the problem, which can be naturally alleviated after the child is born. The good news is that sleep apnea can be effectively treated in cases in which the weight loss does not fix the problem. There are many treatments for the illness, depending largely on its severity. In some cases, medication can treat the issue. In others, a mouth guard that adjusts the position of the jaw during sleep can be applied. Sometimes simple nasal strips worn during sleep can help.
In more serious cases of sleep apnea in pregnant women, a CPAP machine may be prescribed, which requires wearing a breathing mask that delivers a constant flow of oxygen throughout the night. In the most severe instances, especially where obstructions are involved, surgery may be required to open up airways.
The first step, however, is to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Women should visit their doctor if they experience problems snoring or excessive tiredness. A sleep study can help diagnose the condition so that you can move forward with treatment. If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to consult with an ENT specialist, we can help. After reading over our website, give us a call for a consultation today.