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Sleep Apnea is a sleep breathing disorder in which the airway becomes partially or totally obstructed while sleeping. A new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that preeclampsia, or persistently high blood pressure during pregnancy that can lead to major health effects, and/or gestational diabetes have been linked to sleep disturbed breathing during pregnancy (diabetes that develops during pregnancy). These and other negative pregnancy outcomes put the woman at risk for hypertension and metabolic disorders later in life.
The study included 1,964 women who were pregnant for the first time and were part of the Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-to-be Heart Health Study, as well as 1,222 women who were assessed 2-7 years after delivery. The researchers next looked to see if the subjects had a higher risk of hypertension or metabolic syndrome. Researchers of the study said that the occurrence of sleep apnea during pregnancy and two to seven years after delivery was linked to the development of hypertension and metabolic syndrome. To understand how sleep apnea occurs and how it can be managed, we talked to Dr Hemangi Negi, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Max Hospital, Vaishali.
Dr Negi said, "Pregnant patient is more at high risk for developing sleep apnea and therefore they are at higher risk of developing respiratory suppression and medication should be limited and used during pregnancy. When a patient develops sleep apnea during pregnancy, it should be managed with the help of multidisciplinary doctors and should include a specialist in sleep medicine and anaesthesia as well as an obstetrician."
"As for the study, some 15 per cent of the women those were diagnosed with sleep apnea were obese and they were suffering from high blood pressure so obesity is an important factor for sleep apnea and then pregnancy can also increase the risk of sleep apnea in women who are already obese."
Dr Negi pointed out that in order to manage sleep apnea during pregnancy, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, which include:
Not only does sleep difficulties during pregnancy lead to hypertension, but these problems can also lead to other health complications as well:
While sleep apnea can affect pregnant women, there are some ways suggested by the expert that can help them overcome the problem:
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