Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes sufferers to experience snoring and pauses in their breathing during sleep, sometimes up to 100 times per night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA – a form of the condition in which excess fat tissue narrows the inside of the airway – is prevalent in the obese. Although OSA can occur in non-obese individuals, the study below focuses on obese patients.
The Facts About Sleep Apnea and Pregnancy
- It was previously believed that more men suffered from sleep apnea, by a large margin, than women. In those studies, eight or nine men were diagnosed with OSA for each woman with the condition. However, recent studies indicate a substantial shift in that thinking. The actual ratio is closer to two to three men with OSA for each woman with the condition.
- In a new study, 175 obese pregnant women were tested for obstructive sleep apnea, and about 15 participants were found to have the condition. The women with sleep apnea were likely to be heavier and to have high blood pressure.
- 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.*
- Expectant mothers 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.
- 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.
- Prevention is the best way to 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.
Your Mansfield Dentist Office
If sleep issues are affecting your quality of life, especially if you are pregnant, you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Schedule a checkup with Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris. You can reach our Mansfield dentist office at (817) 259-1357. We happily provide comprehensive dentistry to patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, the 76063 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.