Snoring while pregnant can affect both you and your unborn baby. Is it normal to snore while pregnant, why does it start? Does it go away? Are nasal strips the answer? Your questions answered.
What Will I Learn?
Why Women Start Snoring During Pregnancy
Snoring becomes a problem for many women during pregnancy, but why does it happen and how can you stop it? If you or your partner are affected by this issue these are the two questions that are probably most dominant in your mind.
Nobody likes to lie awake listening to their partner snoring away but it’s not a problem that only affects the ones who we love.
Some pregnant women find their snoring becomes loud enough to pull them out of their own slumber. Then, as soon as they drop off to sleep again it’s a case of rinse and repeat.
Did you ever hear that old saying about a problem that’s shared is a problem that’s halved? That’s certainly not the case with snoring. All that bugling from the pillow beside you can place an incredible strain on relationships.
Bring in all the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy and it can be a recipe for disaster. Your partner becomes a little irritable about your snoring and you go to Defcon 1.
Of course, you both know it will all come good in the end. When little Jr. finally arrives it will all seem worthwhile.
Reason’s Why Pregnant Women Snore
Snoring during pregnancy can come about due to a number of reasons. When you are pregnant your body goes through a lot of changes. Weight gain and abnormal blood pressure are just two of them. A sudden onset of snoring may be the result of any one of these changes or a combination of several.
If you or your partner are presently having your lives disrupted by this problem we understand how frustrating it can be.
Rather than leave you struggling in the dark, we’ve put together a short list that contains some of the main reasons your pregnancy may have caused you to suddenly start snoring.
1. Increased Estrogen Levels
Hormonal changes cause so many other issues for women it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn snoring while pregnant is often caused by skyrocketing estrogen levels.
The increase in estrogen can inflame the mucous membrane. This may then partially obstruct the nasal passage leading to breathing difficulties and snoring.
The presence of extra estrogen may also result in increases in mucus production. This also has the potential to block the nasal passage and cause you to snore.
2. Weight Gain
Weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable. Apart from the fact that you are eating for two, you also have a new little body growing inside of you.
The amount of fat gain you gain and where the deposits form is a matter of genetics but some women gain fat around the neck and throat.
The extra pressure this places on the throat and surrounding areas may cause a slight narrowing of the airways which may result in snoring.
During pregnancy, your body carries around more blood than it normally would. This causes the blood vessels to dilate to accommodate its presence.
This dilation of the blood vessels occurs all over the body including the nasal membranes which then become slightly swollen and may make you snore.
All the hard work is not confined to the delivery room. The months leading up to your child’s birth also take their toll on your body. Being pregnant is hard work so it’s not surprising that fatigue can set in.
Because your pregnancy may make you unusually tired, the sleep you fall into may be unusually deep. During a deep sleep like this, the muscles around your throat may relax more than they normally would. Again, this can block your airways and make you begin snoring.
5. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that affects men and women of all ages. Some pregnant women are affected by sleep apnea too.
Apart from causing snoring, sleep apnea can block your airways enough to make you stop breathing. If you think you may have sleep apnea I strongly suggest you visit your doctor and get some expert advice.
6. Colds, Flu, and Allergies
Colds and flu can cause you to begin snoring during pregnancy as well. Allergies may do it too. Again, this is largely due to blockages in the nasal passage.
The good news is if you’re are snoring while pregnant for any of these reasons the problem may only be short-term.
How Common is Snoring During Pregnancy?
As many as eight in ten women have this problem. It’s very common, so don’t worry, you and your partner aren’t suffering alone.
The problem often appears during the third trimester but it can kick-in during other stages of pregnancy as well.
How to Stop Snoring During Pregnancy
Although there are plenty of different things you can do to try and control snoring during pregnancy, there are no guarantees any of them will work.
The method that works for one woman may not work for the next. The thing to remember is, like the baby inside you, you are unique.
However, here’s a list of things that help some women to stop snoring. With any luck, you may find one or more that works for you too.
1. Sleep on your Left Side
Some sleeping positions are more likely to encourage snoring than others. Sleeping on your back can be particularly bad.
When you sleep on your side, you are less likely to snore. Of course, that does not mean it won’t happen, it just allows you to reduce the odds.
Sleeping on your left side is better than sleeping on your right because doing so allows your blood to circulate more freely.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Weight During Pregnancy
Weight gain is a common cause of snoring. It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant or not. However, although weight gain is inevitable when you are carrying around a child it’s best not to allow things to go too over the top.
The best thing to do is regularly consult your recommended weight gain chart and try to keep your weight within the parameters you see there.
It also makes sense to avoid junk foods that are high in fat and sugars that may accelerate your weight gain – and make your snoring worse.
Making healthy food choices is always an excellent idea. More so when you are eating for two.
3. Knock Smoking and Drinking on the Head
Presumably, you will already be avoiding cigarettes and alcohol. Neither one is good for your baby inside. If you can’t do it for your child’s health the chances are nothing will stop you.
However, if you need an extra reason to avoid these things, be aware both of them are capable of causing and increasing snoring.
4. Use Pillows to Elevate Your Head
Selecting an appropriate pillow can also be a good way to reduce snoring.
You need to try and elevate your head but don’t go to thick with your pillow or use too many or it may work against you instead of for you.
This technique may work because it makes it easier to keep your airways clear.
5. Use a Portable Room Humidifier
Room humidifiers can also be a useful ally in your war against snoring. They are not expensive to buy so there is no need to worry about breaking the bank.
By preventing the air in your room from becoming too dry, humidifiers may help keep your airways a little more clear and may work especially well if you add a little eucalyptus oil to the water.
As an added bonus, sleeping with a humidifier on can help you maintain your feminine beauty by preventing your skin from drying out. It could also stop you from snoring.
6. Take Advantage of Nasal Strips and Nasal Sprays
You apply nasal strips to the skin on your nose. It’s an external solution that often works.
After they have been applied, nasal strips pull on the skin, helping to expand the nostrils and keep them open. This improves airflow within the nose sufficiently to stop some people from snoring.
Nasal sprays contain ingredients that open up the nasal passageways from the inside. It’s just a case of squirt, sniff, and hope for the best.
There are three different types of nasal spray:
- Saline Nasal Sprays: These contain saltwater and are easy to buy over-the-counter. They clear your nostrils by loosening up nasal mucus.
- Decongestants: You can buy these over-the-counter but there are prescription decongestants are available as well. They reduce stuffiness and improve airflow by shrinking the tissues in the lining of your nose.
- Steroid Nasal Sprays: These are prescription-only and are often used for relieving allergy symptoms.
Needless to say, over-the-counter sprays don’t contain any ingredients that may be damaging for your baby. However, always check the usage guidelines. If you have any doubts about their suitability your doctor will be able to advise.
Steroid nasal sprays are probably an unwise option but they are prescription-only so you won’t be able to get one in the first place unless your doctor says go.
Although snoring is a natural part of many women’s pregnancies, unless they snored before they were pregnant the problem will likely take a hike shortly after the delivery room.
The things that cause pregnant women to start snoring aren’t any different from the ones that cause other people to do so. Blockages in the airways and nasal problems are often key factors and the remedies for them are the same ones used for snoring in general.
However, although it’s easy to presume a sudden onset of snoring. may be due to pregnancy, it may not always be the case. There could be unknown medical factors involved.
If you or your partner feel your snoring has become excessive talking to a doctor may be the sensible thing to do. At the very least, it will help lay your worries to rest.
If your snoring is accompanied by swollen legs, daytime fatigue, and an ongoing headache, it may indicate a pregnancy complication called preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia can present dangers for mother and child so it would be unwise to dilly-dally and hope the problem goes away. If you show symptoms of preeclampsia you should contact your doctor at once.
When will the snoring stop?
In many cases, the snoring will stop shortly after you have delivered your baby. However, if you have gained a lot of excess fat during your pregnancy your problem with snoring may persist until you manage to get down to a healthier weight.
Is snoring dangerous during pregnancy?
In itself snoring is not dangerous. The only time to worry is if it’s a symptom of sleep apnea or any other undesirable disease.
Snoring caused by normal pregnancy is very common and need not be a source of worry. If you have any doubts about your health though, a doctor should be your first port of call.
Can diet influence snoring during pregnancy?
If your snoring is partly due to an increase in body fat around the neck and throat modifying your diet may be beneficial.
Eating too much high-calorie food is very undesirable. Apart from feeding you the food you eat also nourishes your child. You owe it to your baby to choose the most nutritious food options you can.