Protect Your Child’s Health
Pregnancy marks the beginning of a beautiful chapter in your life, but those nine months can be heavily demanding. That’s why mothers who suffer from sleep apnea have even more challenges to deal with during this time in their life. Along with disrupting your sleep, this disorder can make it difficult to give your body the rest it needs throughout the night.
Fortunately, at Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Clinton is a sleep specialist who specializes in convenient, minimally invasive treatment for sleep apnea. If you’re an expecting mother in the South Dallas area who suffers from this disorder, explore our guide to learn how to ensure your and your child’s safety.
Sleep Apnea, Snoring, & Pregnancy
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep condition that causes the muscles in the back of your throat to relax while you sleep. This blocks your airway and interferes with your body’s ability to breathe throughout the night, potentially causing you to wake up throughout the night. One of the most prominent symptoms of sleep apnea is loud and frequent snoring.
When women who are pregnant snore heavily, this may be a sign of sleep apnea. However, not everyone who snores suffers from this disorder. If it sounds like the person is choking or gasping for air while they sleep, it’s more likely an indication of sleep apnea versus typical snoring.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy
It’s important to know the signs of sleep apnea so your body can get the treatment it needs. Some symptoms that pregnant women may experience include:
- Constant headaches
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Heartburn overnight
- Daytime fatigue
- Restlessness overnight
Some of these symptoms are similar to what you could be experiencing with pregnancy. However, Dr. Clinton advises that you play it safe and undergo a sleep test. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our Waxahachie office at (972) 737-5337 as soon as possible.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Unborn Child
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that requires professional attention. Without treatment, it can lead to:
- Heart disease
- Prolonged labor
- Unplanned Cesarean sections
- Fetal growth restrictions
Another complication that can result is obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS). This describes when an overweight person fails to breathe sufficiently, causing blood carbon dioxide levels to rise and blood sugar to drop. These changes can be detrimental to both your health and the health of your unborn baby.
Treating Pregnancy-Related Sleep Apnea
To protect your child’s health, it’s crucial to identify and treat sleep apnea as early as possible. A CPAP machine is the most common prescription, though most patients complain that it’s too uncomfortable and noisy to sleep with.
As an alternative, Dr. Clinton offers customized oral appliances to treat sleep apnea symptoms. These devices gently shift your lower jaw forward and prevent your tongue from collapsing into the airway, allowing you to breathe freely overnight. Unlike CPAP, oral appliances are:
- Comfortable to wear
- Easily portable
- Allows you to sleep in any position you like
For many patients with sleep apnea, an oral appliance is a key to finally enjoying the quality sleep they deserve. To learn if oral appliance therapy is the treatment you’re looking for, schedule a consultation with Dr. Clinton.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my sleep apnea symptoms go away after my pregnancy?
Sleep apnea symptoms may either subside after your pregnancy or persist in the years that follow. Since it’s easy enough to discontinue treatment should your sleep apnea disappear, it’s always wise to treat symptoms while they are present. Appropriate care helps protect the health of both you and your unborn child and noninvasive therapies are easy to maintain for as long as you experience sleep apnea.
How common is sleep apnea during pregnancy?
Studies show that women are typically less likely than men to suffer from sleep apnea. However, the rates of sleep apnea during pregnancy increase significantly, affecting as many as one in four expecting mothers during the third trimester. This is generally understood to be the result of hormonal changes and the redistribution of body weight during pregnancy.
Can other conditions make developing sleep apnea during pregnancy more likely?
While pregnant, certain medical conditions can predispose you to new or worsened sleep apnea symptoms. You may have an increased chance of developing sleep apnea during your pregnancy if you suffer from conditions including:
- Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
- Diabetes, including gestational diabetes
- Deviated septum or other breathing issues
What’s a sleep test?
A sleep test is an overnight test used to diagnose sleep disorders conducted by a sleep specialist in their lab. The test tracks your brain wave patterns, oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, and sleeping habits. After the test, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis and from there, Dr. Clinton will find the treatment that’s right for you.
Visit Dr. Clinton for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dr. Clinton and our dental team fully understand the impact of sleep apnea on pregnant women. Without proper treatment, you and your unborn child both face a serious risk of developing health complications.
Thankfully, Dr. Clinton can provide the comfortable and effective care you need with oral appliance therapy in the South Dallas area including Red Oak, Midlothian, Maypearl, and Ennis. Call our Waxahachie office today at (972) 737-5337 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clinton. Or fill out our online contact form below and we’ll get back to you promptly. It’s the first step to a better night’s sleep.