Snoring During Pregnancy Leads to Sleep Apnea


A recent study published in the British Journal of Gynecology has made the connection that hypertension and snoring leads to sleep apnea, which develops in later pregnancy. Snoring during pregnancy can lead to negative outcomes for the unborn baby and the mother, with more cesarean sections and lower birth rights.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the form of sleep apnea that affects more people than any other kind. Characterized by pauses in breathing that can last around half a minute, apnea is caused by relaxed throat muscles that can block a person’s airways. When oxygen is cut off from the brain during sleep, the brain will wake the person up, leading to sleepless nights and fatigue during the day.

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is shown to affect a high number of hypertensive pregnant women, and snoring is the top symptom of such a disorder. Pregnant women who do not snore, however, are less likely to develop apnea and other sleep related disorders. Pregnant women who snore are more likely to have less oxygen in their blood than pregnant women who are not snorers. This relates to hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure.

The test found that of the 51 ladies who had hypertension, 61 percent of them had obstructive sleep apnea, where only 3 of the women who did not have high blood pressure were found to have sleep apnea. Generally speaking, women with hypertension do tend to have a mild form of some kind of sleep apnea, but the study found that over 25 percent of women with high blood pressure did have bad obstructive sleep apnea.

Other studies have shown that snoring can affect the carotid artery, which is one of the main blood vessels that bring blood and oxygen to the brain. The vibrations from snoring can lead to inflammation of the artery, as well as trauma. The loss of oxygen from obstructive sleep apnea can lead to traumatic brain injury if left untreated long enough.

Pregnant women that snore during pregnancy are not the only people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Recent studies have also shed light on the effects of sleep apnea on children. It has been found that up to 3 percent of children have obstructive sleep apnea, which can lead to hyperactivity and attention deficit like symptoms. These children can also be put at risk for heart and lung problems which can worsen as they get older. Obstructive sleep apnea in children can also lead to bed wetting. Children that are overweight have a much greater threat of sleep apnea than children who are at a healthy weight.

Though pregnant women that snore are more likely to have higher levels of hypertension and sleep apnea, there is hope for them. There are different ways to cure snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, including mouth guards and a large face mask called a CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It uses air pressure to keep the breathing passage open while people sleep. It has been found to be one of the best ways to combat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

By Bryan Levy

Without Snoring
Western Daily Press

One Response to "Snoring During Pregnancy Leads to Sleep Apnea"

  1. Musa   July 7, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Hi there,

    Thanks for this informative article. I’d like to add that losing weight may be one of the single biggest determinants when it comes to the development of sleep apnea. Most overweight individuals are more likely to suffer from this condition, so weight loss may help in the long run.


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