Pregnant Women with Sleep Apnea: It’s Vital to be Screened

Nearly half the pregnant women who have hypertension—and who snore on a regular basis—have sleep apnea. Pregnant women with sleep apnea are just one part of a growing number of sleep disorders that women are experiencing. This is cause for concern but physicians can treat the problem early on by screening patients who present with all of these risk factors.

Sleep apnea causes blood oxygen levels to drop while sleeping. This is particularly harmful for a woman who is pregnant, as it affects her unborn child. The good news is that habitual snoring, which is snoring 3 or more times a week, can be a telltale sign that sleep apnea is present. So, if a pregnant woman is aware that she snores, it is important that she mention this fact her doctor.

It has been conclusively shown that it is not an optimal situation when a woman snores during pregnancy. Both mother and child may experience adverse effects. Snoring can add to delivery complications and adversely impact the health of the child later in life. It can also be an indicator of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure during the pregnancy. The study went on to reveal that up to 25% of pregnant women with high blood pressure may have sleep apnea, even though they may not snore.

For this reason, physicians are urged to screen patients for sleep apnea who are pregnant and present with hypertension. Both conditions—sleep apnea and hypertension—can be safely treated during pregnancy. It is very important that pregnant women with sleep apnea are treated early and appropriately, as this helps ensure a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. It also helps cut healthcare costs associated with difficult deliveries and can help to minimize other complications that may arise during the pregnancy.