November 17, 2021 · 2 Minute read
November 17, 2021

Can You Continue CPAP Treatment During Pregnancy?

2 Minute read

Women who have sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea often are prescribed treatment options such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP therapy. However, if you suddenly find out you are pregnant, treatment of that nature might make you worry whether it is safe or not. So let’s see whether CPAP treatment during pregnancy poses any threat or not.

Is It Safe To Continue?

pregnant woman being examined by doctor

You should definitely continue your CPAP therapy while pregnant. When sleep apnea is not treated you can suffer from sleep disordered breathing which is thought to increase the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure and/or hypertension, both of which can be harmful to the unborn baby. Pre-eclampsia is also a risk factor, characterized by high blood pressure and signs of organ damage, most commonly the liver and kidneys.

Using a CPAP machine  is considered a safe therapy for pregnant women. In fact, it is one of the few treatment methods that pregnant women can tolerate. Those who have already started their therapy are recommended to continue with it in most cases.

Usually, around the 24 weeks mark, the doctor would ask you to go for a checkup. Nasal congestion and weight gain can mess with OSA symptoms so this 24 week appointment is very important. If you have sleep apnea and have not gotten treatment for it, you should be getting it at the earliest.

Is OSA A Symptom Of Pregnancy?

pregnant woman sleeping

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is something that occurs in 20 percent of women during pregnancy. They might not have had any kind of breathing problem before that, yet they begin experiencing it after getting pregnant.

Often times the symptoms of sleep apnea are similar to other pregnancy symptoms. Some women do not snore despite having sleep apnea, so they are not tipped off easily. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, snoring while pregnant can increase your risk factors for delivery complications.What would be considered a episode of OSA may be dismissed  as a regular pregnancy symptom.

According to one small study, 10.5 percent of women in the first trimester and 26.7 percent of women in the third trimester had OSA. According to the findings, many pregnant women may be mistakenly dismissing symptoms as pregnancy-related rather than indicators of a treatable medical problem.

Pregnancy-related physiological changes, including as weight gain and an upward shift of the diaphragm, can predispose women to sleep apnea, including the loud snoring that is common with OSA.If an increase in snoring happens that may cause daytime sleepiness in some pregnant woman. The considerable increase in estrogen and progesterone levels also puts women at higher risk since estrogen causes a variety of changes that lead to constriction of the airways.Some women may have undetected sleep apnea before to pregnancy, in which case the increase in hormone levels during pregnancy will most likely worsen the disease.

It takes more effort for your body to breathe than normal. In addition, as you are on your back, your body puts even more pressure on the upper airways, only adding to the problem. If you suffer from sleep apnea it is not recommended for you to be in a supine sleeping position, rather they suggest you sleep on your side so your airflow does not get obstructed.

That’s why you need to get yourself tested if you feel any of these symptoms.

Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant and think you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea you should contact your doctor of gynecology so he can follow up with your health care provider and he can schedule you for a sleep study. If you already have diagnosed sleep apnea you should continue using your CPAP machine in order to avoid any pregnancy complications and to keep you feeling your best.

Written by Karina Lima

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