Sleep apnea occurs when the airway in your throat is obstructed while you sleep, preventing the oxygen you need from getting to your lungs. As a result, you may wake up and gasp for air before falling back to sleep. These episodes—called apneas—can occur hundreds of time per night, though you may not be aware they are happening because they are over so quickly. However, the constant sleep interruptions can lead to chronic daytime drowsiness. When you’re pregnant, your risk of developing sleep apnea increases. This is referred to as gestational sleep apnea, and it can contribute to a long list of complications. Here is what you need to know.  

How do I know if I have gestational sleep apnea? 

People often find out that they have gestational sleep apnea after a partner informs them of their intense snoring. Snoring doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea, but it could be an indicator. Your partner may also notice that you are gasping or seem to stop breathing while you sleep, which is another symptom. In some cases, extreme, unexplained drowsiness is another indicator. If you think you are having symptoms of sleep apnea, tell your doctor, who may refer you for a sleep study.  

What happens during a sleep study? 

During a sleep study, medical professionals will monitor your breathing, oxygen levels, and heart, lung, and brain functions while you sleep. If you experience episodes of apneas, they will be recorded and you may be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Sleep studies usually take place in designated sleep labs and are not painful. You simply go to sleep with monitors attached to your body.  

How is gestational sleep apnea treated? 

If you have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend CPAP treatment or oral appliance therapy. Both of these techniques help to keep your airway open while you sleep, so you can breathe easily and get the rest you need. After your pregnancy, you may be able to discontinue therapy.  

Don’t let sleep apnea affect your health during your pregnancy. Get a definitive diagnosis and treatment from Sleep Dynamics. Schedule your sleep study in Central New Jersey today by calling (848) 217-0240.