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Susan Warhus, MD

Your question
Is there any connection to sleep apnea and miscarriage?

The doctor answers:
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to temporarily stop breathing while you are sleeping. This disturbance can occur many times during the night and can lead to fragmented and poor quality sleep. The most common cause of sleep apnea is blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat relaxes and collapses during sleep.

There is evidence to indicate that sleep apnea may begin or worsen during pregnancy. That's because pregnancy often causes increased swelling and fluid retention in your nasal passages. Typically, this results in loud snoring. In fact, up to half of all pregnant women snore. In severe cases, the swelling and fluid retention in the nasal passages may partially obstruct the airways and lead to sleep apnea.

If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain and headaches. There is no known link between sleep apnea and miscarriage. However, not much research has been done on this subject. And, unfortunately, despite medical science and technology, we still don't understand what causes most miscarriages.

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor. Various treatment options are available including positional therapy, oral appliances and airway pressure therapy.

And if you have suffered a miscarriage, be sure that you seek the advice of a caring and competent OB/GYN physician. Your doctor may want to evaluate you to determine whether a possible underlying problem is the cause of the miscarriage, but keep in mind that in many cases, no underlying cause can be found. You and your doctor can work together to find a solution that will work for you and hopefully result in a healthy and happy pregnancy.PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: apnea


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