Recommendations and Tips for Coping with Sleep Apnea during Pregnancy

Sleep apnea refers to a sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in the breathing process while sleeping. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for this condition and women in their third trimester are particularly susceptible because of the weight that they have put on.

In addition to this, the extra layers of tissue around the throat and neck and swollen nasal passages during pregnancy can lead to this condition. The pregnant body produces high levels of oestrogen and this results in the swelling of the mucous membranes that line the nose causing them to go into overdrive, producing even more mucous.

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During pregnancy, it is a given that the amount of blood in your body will increase allowing the blood vessels to expand. This can also lead to your nasal membranes getting swollen up as well. Pregnancy sleep apnea is a breathing disorder, almost similar to snoring which causes the airways to be blocked. Unable to take in oxygen, the lungs protest and you are suddenly woken up.

Pregnancy Sleep Apnea Recommendations

Sleep apnea in pregnancy is usually detected by your partner for you are likely to stop breathing for a while and then suddenly wake up with a start, snort or gasp. The afflicted person rarely remembers these episodes at night and wakes up tired in the morning. If you have been suffering from this condition it would be advisable to consult your doctor immediately as it will not only deprive you but also of your baby of it's much needed oxygen.

It can affect your baby's growth, lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and the feeling of tiredness and being deprived of sleep can make you fall asleep while working, taking care of your other children and in a worst case scenario, while driving.

Pregnancy Sleep Apnea Care

Some doctors recommend a special mouth guard device to keep your air passages open. In case of severe apnea, your physician might recommend an oxygen mask hooked to a machine that will provide you a steady flow of air and will help you sleep normally. Take care to completely avoid alcohol consumption as it will result in muscle relaxation to such a degree that it may cause sleeping problems apart from otherwise harming your baby. Take care to not sleep on your back, the best position while sleeping is on your left side. This will allow nutrients and oxygen to flow better towards the baby and if you wish you may use a pillow underneath your abdomen and your back. Propping up your upper body can also help if you are having difficulty breathing.

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