Untreated Sleep Apnea is Bad for Fetus; a New Study.

Pregnant woman lying in bed sleeping
“In this month’s SLEEP journal, Blyton and colleagues report a series of three small studies of fetal activity in women with and without preeclampsia. They found objective evidence of reduced fetal movements in women with preeclampsia, many of whom had sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and improvement in fetal movements following intervention with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
… it raises the possibility that a simple, noninvasive therapy for SDB may improve fetal well-being.
These findings are clinically important and very timely.
There has been a marked rise in publications in recent years showing that the frequency of SDB is increased during pregnancy and is independently associated with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. In addition, a large proportion of pregnant women with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia appear to have unrecognized SDB.”
– Louise M. O’Brien, PhD, MS
Why does sleep apnea occur with greater frequency during pregnancy?
Hormonal changes of pregnancy relax your upper airway muscles causing a narrowing of the airway during inhalation, which  in turn causes snoring and sleep apnea (repeated cessation of respirations lasting for ten or more seconds and robbing you of your deep sleep, causing severe daytime sleepiness and fatigue). Untreated, sleep apnea also increases the risk of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.
How do you know if you might have sleep apnea?
You can watch my 90 sec video clip from PBS to learn about the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Answer the following questions; if you reply yes to two or more, you are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea and should talk to your doctor. 
S—Do you snore loudly?
T—Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?
O—Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep?
P—Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?


A simple home sleep test can diagnose this serious disease. You can learn more about it by watching this 90 sec video clip from PBS.
There is a safe, easy, and very effective treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP hooks to a nasal mask or cannula, which acts as a pneumatic splint that keeps the airway open, thus eliminating snoring, sleep apnea, sleep disruption, and the apnea-related complications. So, please get it diagnosed and treated promptly. 
Sleep Well, Live Well. God Bless You.


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Marty McFly,

    I think you have given me a better perspective about sleep and my mental health just by reading a few of your posts. I might have to buy your book! Cheers!


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