Snoring during pregnancy is not uncommon. During pregnancy, however, you may find that you snore more often and loudly than before. It is possible for women who haven’t snored before pregnancy to start snoring during pregnancy.
According to one source, 23 percent of women snore during pregnancy. Usually, snoring during pregnancy starts towards the beginning of the second trimester. As your pregnancy advances into the third trimester, it becomes more intense, but it generally goes away after giving birth. A chronic snorer snores regularly and badly both before she becomes pregnant and during her pregnancy.
Chronic snoring while sleeping during pregnancy can be an indication of breathing problems which may affect the oxygen supply to the fetus. The article gave some insight into the causes of snoring during pregnancy as well as some snoring solutions during pregnancy.
What Causes Snoring During Pregnancy?
Snoring occurs when the tongue, mouth, throat, or nasal passages vibrate while you breathe in and out. The main cause of this phenomenon is the narrowing of nasal passages. Snoring occurs when the air cannot freely move through the blocked area, or, to put it another way, when the air is forced through a blocked area, causing its tissues to bump against one another and vibrate, resulting in a hoarse or harsh noise.
Snoring is caused by many factors, including
- Infections like sinusitis that could bring about temporary snoring issues
- Physical issues such as a deviated nasal septum and poor throat and tongue tone
Snoring during pregnancy, however, can have different causes. It is found that the frequency of snoring increased more than twice from the first to the third trimester of pregnancy1. Following are some of the major causes of snoring during pregnancy.
1. Changes in hormone levels can cause snoring during pregnancy
During pregnancy, hormonal changes are the primary cause of many problems. Snoring can also be attributed to hormonal changes. As you get pregnant, your body releases more estrogen hormones. These hormones expand the nasal tissue and cause the mucous membranes in the nose to swell.
They also direct the blood vessels inside your nose to widen and cause nasal congestion. This congestion and a narrowing of the nasal passages force the pregnant woman to breathe through the mouth as she sleeps, and, more often than not, snore.
Related Reading: 8 Causes Of Sleep Deprivation During Pregnancy
2. Increase in blood volume
Another cause of snoring during pregnancy is the increase in blood plasma volume. The blood volume increases during pregnancy. By the third trimester, your blood plasma volume is 40-50% more than it was before you were pregnant.
This increase in blood volume fills the blood vessel with more blood. Blood vessels in nasal passages also swell, narrowing the passage. This makes the passage more difficult for air to pass through. It is the main reason for the increase in snoring during pregnancy third trimester
3. Pregnancy rhinitis
About one-fifth of pregnant women experience pregnancy rhinitis2. Congestion of the nasal passages that lasts for more than six weeks during pregnancy is called pregnancy rhinitis. Pregnancy-rhinitis may occur at any time during pregnancy. This condition often affects women in the first trimester of pregnancy, and then again in the second trimester. The nasal passages can become blocked due to rhinitis, which can cause snoring3.
4. Pregnancy weight gain
Pregnancy weight gain changes the way you breathe. During pregnancy, as your uterus expands, it pushes upward as well as outward, causing your diaphragm to extend upward as well. There will be a lower residual volume in the lungs, which might make your throat more susceptible to obstructions, leading to snoring4.
Related Reading: 12 Tips To Maintain Weight During Pregnancy
5. Pre-pregnancy weight
Snoring has been associated with pre-pregnancy weight. Snoring is more likely if you had a high BMI before you conceived. A high BMI increases the likelihood of excess fat being deposited around the soft tissues of your neck. This narrows the airways, affecting the way the pregnant woman breathes during sleep. This can contribute to the development of snoring5.
What Are The Symptoms Of Snoring During Pregnancy?
The sound of snoring can range from barely audible to extremely annoying noise that may be heard outside the bedroom. Pregnant women who snore more frequently at night may feel sleepy during the day because they don’t get a good night’s rest. This could, in turn, lead them to be less productive.
Following are some typical signs of snoring during pregnancy:
- May notice sleep pauses
- Headaches in the morning
- Sleepiness during the day
- Concentration problems
- Morning sore throat
- Sleepless nights
- A feeling of choking or gasping during the night
Risks Associated With Pregnant Woman Snoring
Neither testing nor treatment is necessary for light, infrequent snoring. Usually, it causes noise that disturbs the sleeping partner or roommate.
Snoring that occurs more than three times a week is considered primary snoring. Since the occurrence is more frequent, it can be bothersome for sleeping partners. However, it does not generally cause any health concern.
A pregnant woman’s health is more at risk from snoring associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Without treatment, OSA can have serious effects during pregnancy.
The risk associated with excessive snoring during pregnancy includes
- In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, excessive maternal snoring is associated with higher blood pressure6
- An increase in snoring during pregnancy is strongly associated with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia7
- Snoring during pregnancy is associated with adverse delivery outcomes, including cesarean deliveries and preterm births8
Related Reading: Taking Facial Steam During Pregnancy- Is It Safe?
Tips To Prevent Snoring During Pregnancy
Pregnancy-induced snoring is very likely to stop once you’ve given birth. During this time, you can take one thing off your mind by reducing/preventing snoring so that you can focus on other pregnancy-related matters. Are you wondering how to prevent snoring during pregnancy? Here are some helpful tips.
1. Use an anti-snoring mouthpiece
An anti-snoring mouthpiece is an easy-to-use and practical way to prevent snoring during pregnancy. These mouthpieces prevent snoring by covering your teeth like a gum shield. They work by moving your lower jaw forward. A narrowed airway causes snoring. Your breathing passages may be blocked due to overly relaxed soft tissues or the base of your tongue falling back. Mouthpieces tighten your airway tissues during sleep thereby preventing them from falling over the breathing passages. The anti-snoring mouthpiece also lifts the tongue off the back of the throat, making it easier to breathe.
Women suffering from pregnancy snoring due to being overweight, back sleepers, and those with chronic nasal blockage may benefit from it9.
2. Nasal strips
The nasal strips are a type of adhesive bandage embedded with plastic ribs or splints that are placed across the bridge of the nose and on either side of the nostrils. Nasal strips open your nasal passages naturally, allowing you to breathe better, reduce snoring, and alleviate blocked nasal passages. Nasal strips for snoring during pregnancy are non-medicated so you needn’t worry about the safety of it. You can either insert them into your nostrils or place them across the bridge of your nose.
3. Elevate the head slightly
To allow for better airflow through the nose while sleeping, try elevating your head while sleeping. Your breathing will be easier and you will not snore as much. Raising your head while lying down will also reduce heartburn symptoms. To accomplish this, elevate your bed or add more pillows.
4. Sleeping on your side helps
Sleeping on your back compresses your airway and leads to snoring. By sleeping on your sides during pregnancy, you prevent possible compression of your airway that may occur with other sleeping positions, such as sleeping on your back. Quite apart from preventing snoring, sleeping on your left side is highly beneficial during pregnancy as it improves blood circulation and reduces the chance of a stillbirth.
Related Reading: Excessive Sleeping During Pregnancy – Causes, And Remedies
When To See A Doctor For Snoring During Pregnancy?
Generally, snoring during pregnancy is nothing to worry about and you can ease the problem with a few simple lifestyle changes. Snoring during pregnancy’s first trimester, especially excessive snoring, should be brought to the doctor’s attention. Neither swelling nor increased blood flow can explain this issue at this stage of pregnancy. Therefore, it may be indicative of something more serious.
Occasionally, snoring may indicate the presence of a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when narrowed airways temporarily prevent you from breathing during sleep. If you wake up choking, snorting, or gasping, frequently during the night, it can be a sign of OSA. OSA often occurs intermittently during sleep.
When you stop breathing for short periods, your blood oxygen level drops. As a result, it can have a detrimental effect on the mother’s health and the development of the fetus.
When you suspect that you may have obstructive sleep apnea, you should see your doctor. OSA during pregnancy has been linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and the possibility of a cesarean section.
Snoring in pregnancy can start at any time, but as the pregnancy progresses, the chances increase. Therefore, there is a greater chance of snoring in pregnancy by the third trimester than at the beginning.
In obstructive sleep apnea, the airways get blocked during sleep or collapse, causing repeated lapses in breathing. Snoring is one of the key symptoms of OSA.
Not everyone who snores has OSA. As a result of OSA, sleep quality is often impaired and oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are disrupted. Occasional snoring on the other hand will not cause these effects.