One of the emerging issues in pregnant women is a serious sleep disorder in which the women are unaware that they stop breathing while sleeping, putting them and their baby at risk. This condition is known as “Sleep Apnea.” Obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, diabetes, and other factors can all contribute to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a major issue during pregnancy because estrogenic levels are high, causing the mucus membranes of the nose to swell and cause nasal congestion. Pregnant women are at risk of developing conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. But how does one know if they are suffering from sleep apnea? To know if one is suffering from sleep apnea, common symptoms include:
- Choking or coughing during sleep
- Breathlessness for a long time while sleeping.
- Dry mouth after waking up.
- Drowsiness or fatigue during the daytime.
Sleep apnea can cause major discomfort to people and especially to females during pregnancy, but there are several ways through which sleep apnea can be treated. Often it is advised to cut down on excessive drinking and smoking to reduce the problem of sleep apnea, which in any way is not advised to consume during pregnancy. However, if the problem persists, professional help is advised.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – CPAP is a way that benefits from using a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while sleeping. Initially, the machine may seem uncomfortable, but with regular usage, one gets acquainted. The air pressure is somewhat greater in the CPAP than in the surrounding, enough to keep the upper airway passages open, thus preventing snoring and breathlessness.
Many times, it is advised to use supplemental oxygen to get rid of sleep apnea. Oxygen cylinders or other forms of oxygen are used to deliver oxygen to the lungs to maintain a good breathing rate while sleeping.
Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) – This device helps in reading the breathing patterns of the individual and stores it as data and works accordingly, while asleep by giving out pressure to normalize the breathing pattern and prevent apnea.
The treatment of apnea begins with changing our own lifestyle. The measures listed above can assist us in curing apnea. Even though apnea can be cured through therapies, if the problem prolongs for a longer period, surgery can be considered with the advice of a medical professional.