Livonia Dentist Discusses Sleep Apnea in Pregnant Women

Q)        What is sleep apnea?

A)        Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes sufferers to experience snoring, along with pauses in their breathing during sleep, sometimes up to 100 such pauses during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a form of the condition in which excess fat issue narrows the inside of the airway – is prevalent in the obese. Although OSA can occur in non-obese individuals, this discussion focuses on obese patients. Not all women gain significant weight during pregnancy, but many do. For these women, OSA may be an issue.

Q)        Isn’t sleep apnea more prevalent in men than in women?

A)        In previous studies of sleep apnea, eight or nine men were diagnosed with OSA for each woman with the condition. Recent studies indicate a substantial shift in that thinking, however. The actual ratio is closer to two to three men with OSA for each woman with the condition.

Q)        What are the effects of OSA on pregnant women?

A)        In a new study, 175 obese pregnant women were tested for obstructive sleep apnea, and about 15 percent of participants were found to have the condition. The women with sleep apnea were likely to be heavier and to have chronic high blood pressure.

Q)        What the risks of obstructive sleep apnea during pregnancy?

A)        Obstructive sleep apnea during pregnancy carries a multitude of risks for mother and baby. According to researcher Dr. Judette Louis, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida, the methods for screening and treating sleep apnea during pregnancy are currently lacking, and improvements are necessary in this area.*

Women with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to develop preeclampsia, or high blood pressure, during pregnancy. Forty-two percent of women with sleep apnea experience preeclampsia, compared with seventeen percent of women without sleep apnea. Among women suffering from sleep apnea, the rate of delivery by C-section is 65 percent, as opposed to 33 percent in mothers without sleep apnea.

Q)        What are the consequences of OSA to the Newborn?

A)        The consequences of obstructive sleep apnea extend past delivery, as many of these babies experience breathing problems after birth and are 46 percent more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) than babies born to women without the condition. The higher rate of C-sections in the sleep apnea patient may also be a factor in the higher rate of infant admissions into the NICU.

Q)           How can the risks be reduced?

A)        Preventive measures will reduce the risks of obesity-related sleep apnea. It is best for a woman to begin her pregnancy at a healthy body weight. This is not always possible, however, since losing weight is difficult for many individuals. The expectant mother’s OB/GYN can discuss diet and healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Livonia Dentist

If sleep issues are affecting your quality of life, especially if you are pregnant, you may be experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment with your Livonia sleep apnea dentist at (734)425-4400. We gladly serve patients from Livonia the surrounding 48151 area, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, and Dearborn.

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