Have you been struggling to sleep comfortably as your pregnancy advances? You’re not alone. But maybe once you fall asleep, it’s your partner who struggles. No one likes to believe they snore, but for expecting mothers, it’s more common than you may think.
There are several potential causes of snoring during pregnancy, some are harmless, though annoying, but several can be a potential concern. Whether you should worry or not is up to your doctor and you should always let them know if you’ve noticed a significant change in your nighttime noises.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the possible causes of snoring as well as some solutions to help you be more comfortable and a little quieter so you can get a better night’s sleep.
What Causes Snoring During Pregnancy?
There are a couple of things that can cause you to start snoring during pregnancy. Most women see their snoring problem begin or increase during their second trimester. Your sleep position and bedroom environment can affect these problems, but we have a few suggestions on how to improve that coming up. First, let’s look at why you may start snoring at this stage.
Body Weight Changes
When you start gaining weight during pregnancy, it can cause snoring, particularly if you gain weight around your neck. This extra pressure can affect how you breathe. The expansion of your uterus in the later stages of pregnancy can also press up on your diaphragm which can limit your lung capacity and cause snoring.
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, gaining the right amount at a safe pace. Everyone stores weight differently, though, so even in the healthy range, you might end up with weight stored around your throat, causing possible airflow issues.
Nasal congestion, a common culprit of allergy season snoring, can also be triggered by hormones. Pregnancy Rhinitis is a common condition, affecting up to 30% of expectant mothers, that causes the mucous membranes of your nasal passages to swell, making breathing through your nose more difficult.
Your mucous production can also go into overdrive with this condition, making it even harder to breathe clearly through your nose. Sinus infections are also common during pregnancy, which can exacerbate the issue.
Is Snoring During Pregnancy Dangerous?
While snoring itself isn’t likely to cause any serious harm, it can sometimes indicate something might be wrong.
Sleep apnea can be a condition that you experienced before pregnancy, but it also might first manifest during your pregnancy. This condition can be dangerous because it reduces your oxygen intake. It’s often marked by cycles of loud snoring that become more intense before your airflow stops, then a loud snort may indicate your body has resumed normal breathing.
This condition is caused by an intermittent blockage or collapse of your airway while sleeping. It can cause an interruption in your breathing. These pauses in your air intake can last one or two seconds or even more than a minute in severe cases.
Most people with sleep apnea don’t notice trouble breathing during their waking hours and won’t be conscious of these issues when they wake up. But it can reduce your sleep quality and your blood oxygen levels. Depending on the severity, this can pose a risk to you and your baby.
Mild sleep apnea can be triggered by the previously discusses issues of weight gain around the neck or sinus congestion, making pregnant women more at risk for this condition. Severe sleep apnea can be serious and may require the use of a CPAP machine to help keep your airways open and flowing.
Moms with snoring problems, particularly caused by sleep apnea have been found to have a higher risk of certain conditions.
This is a form of diabetes that only appears during pregnancy. Snoring and sleep apnea are more common in mothers who have gestational diabetes and you may find it to be a warning sign of this complication.
Mothers who are already overweight or have higher blood sugar levels before pregnancy are at greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. Gaining a lot of weight during your pregnancy can also put you at risk. Other factors, such as a family history of blood sugar disorders and carrying twins or triplets can also increase your chances of this condition.
By going to regular checkups, your doctor can monitor your blood sugar to make sure you’re staying in a healthy range. If you do develop gestational diabetes, they can recommend a diet and exercise plan that will help you manage your condition. If it’s severe, they may also put you on medication.
Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder found in pregnant women, typically in the later stages of their pregnancy. Your doctor will check at your regular visits to determine if you have any other warning signs of this serious illness.
This condition is also sometimes called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). It affects how much oxygen your baby is getting in utero. It can cause damage to your kidneys and liver when left untreated. It can also put you at higher risk for complications during delivery.
Preeclampsia more commonly seen in mothers with poor sleep quality. Other pre-existing conditions, such as immune system disorders can also increase your risks. If any of the women in your family experienced preeclampsia, you may have higher odds of developing it, so let your doctor know.
Preeclampsia can develop into eclampsia if not treated. This can cause seizures and puts you at risk for preterm delivery. As long as you faithfully attend your regular doctors’ appointments, though, the condition should be detected and treated before it progresses. By taking your blood pressure and checking your urine for protein, your doctor will be able to tell if you have preeclampsia.
How Can I Stop Snoring During Pregnancy?
If you’ve noticed an increase or sudden onset of snoring, you may be wondering how you can control this issue. Even if the cause isn’t serious, getting enough restful sleep is important for your and your baby’s health.
Determining the Cause
It may seem like a small thing, but you should mention any changes in sleep or snoring to your doctor as soon as possible. Since it can be linked to more serious issues, it’s important to get to the root cause quickly.
If you have sleep apnea, your doctor can make recommendations and begin treatment if necessary. They can also monitor your blood sugar and blood sugar more carefully since you may be at higher risk for gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Diet and Exercise
If your snoring is caused by weight gain, you may need to make a few lifestyle adjustments to keep from gaining too much weight too quickly.
Even if you are overweight before becoming pregnant, you should still gain some weight over the course of your pregnancy, but not as much as someone who is considered to be in the normal weight zone. You shouldn’t try to lose weight during pregnancy since dieting puts you at risk for nutritional deficiencies that could be harmful to you and your baby.
It is only recommended to increase your normal caloric intake by about 300 calories a day while you’re pregnant. That’s the extra fuel you need to grow your little one. If your diet was less than stellar before becoming pregnant, your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist to help you develop an eating plan that provides all the essential nutrients you’ll need while still fitting your busy lifestyle.
Getting adequate exercise can be tough while you’re pregnant, especially if you weren’t a gym rat before. As your belly grows bigger, it can feel awkward to exercise the way you did before, and you may not have a lot of energy. A nap may be much more tempting than a treadmill.
Fortunately, you don’t have to become a powerlifter. The main form of exercise doctors recommend for pregnant women is walking. This low impact, full-body exercise will help your body stay strong. Moderate exercise helps you control your weight and blood pressure. It can also strengthen your immune system, reducing colds and cases of flu that can cause snoring as well.
If you’re bored with walking or the weather keeps you inside, you can try other forms of low-impact exercise. Yoga and pilates are common and can be done right in your living room. Belly dance is sometimes recommended to pregnant women because it helps strengthen the core muscles you’ll need during labor and delivery while encouraging good posture that takes the pressure off the knees and back. In fact, belly dance rituals have been used in pregnancy for centuries by some cultures.
You should always consult your doctor about what forms of exercise will be safe for you to do, especially if you have pregnancy complications.
By adjusting the way you sleep and your sleep environment, you can often relieve or reduce snoring.
Sleeping on your back is one of the most snore-inducing sleep positions. Back-sleeping, however, can be dangerous after your first trimester. The weight of your uterus can press on your vena cava, cutting off blood flow. This can have many negative side-effects, so avoid sleeping on your back at all costs.
Side sleeping is the most common sleep position, with the left side being recommended by the American Pregnancy Association. Sleeping on your left side provides the best circulation, You don’t press on any major arteries, allowing unimpeded blood flow for you and your baby.
To improve your sleep posture, you may want to invest in a pregnancy pillow. These pillows help support your body to increase your comfort and keep you in a safe position all night.
A side sleeping position with good head and neck support will help reduce snoring and be better for you and your baby.
If you are having issues with congestion, there are some changes you can make to relieve your stuffy nose and sinus inflammation. These changes can help you breathe easier and sleep more quietly and peacefully.
A drug-free option to help relieve nasal congestion is a good old-fashioned nasal strip. These help open up your nostrils to allow air to pass through more easily. You can also run a humidifier in your room at night to help reduce your symptoms. Both of these options make it easier to breathe clearly through your nose, so you won’t open your mouth and start snoring in your sleep.
Propping up your head under additional pillows can also help. This encourages your sinuses to drain. An elevated head position can also be effective if weight gain around your neck has caused snoring. Sleeping at this angle helps keep your air passages clear and can even reduce heartburn and acid reflux.
Your doctor can also recommend some safe decongestants you can take before bed. Just check with them first, since some medications can have negative side effects during pregnancy.
Stop Snoring and Get Restful Sleep
Sleeping well is more important than ever when you’re pregnant. You need your energy to be replenished each night because someone else is eating up a big chunk of it during the day. Soon, your sleep will be interrupted by late-night feedings, so you and your partner should build yourselves up with restful sleep now as much as possible.
While it can be easy to dismiss snoring during pregnancy as just another little inconvenience, it’s always worth discussing with your doctor. It can be a warning sign that something more serious could be wrong. But even if it is just an inconvenience, you deserve to get the best sleep possible, so take the necessary steps to have a better night’s sleep– snore-free.