Pregnancy and snoring – is there a link? It may sound surprising, but up to 30% of women begin to snore during pregnancy. Even if you’ve never snored before, you may find yourself developing the night-time habit.
What causes snoring in pregnancy?
If you’re pregnant, there are many reasons why you may start snoring.
Increase in hormones
During pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels increase to support the growth of your baby. This can cause nasal congestion as your mucus membranes may begin to swell. These changes can restrict your breathing, leading to snoring.
Increase in blood flow
When you reach week 6 of pregnancy, the body starts to produce more blood. This continues right through the third trimester; the overall blood volume increases by around 50%. That’s roughly another 2 pints!
Although this helps protect against potential blood loss during labour, it can also have a negative effect on your body. Your airway may engorge, causing it to narrow. The air passing through then faces higher resistance. Many pregnant women also find that their nose becomes congested. 42% of women in their third trimester suffer from pregnancy-rhinitis or nasal swelling. This may encourage you to breathe through your mouth and ultimately result in snoring.
Weight gain is just one lifestyle factor that can lead to snoring in general. So when you gain pregnancy weight, especially in the third trimester, extra tissue builds around your neck that may cause you to snore.
When does snoring in pregnancy start?
You can start to snore at any point during pregnancy, however around one in ten pregnant women start snoring regularly in their first trimester. This then rises to almost half of mums-to-be in the third trimester.
Should I be concerned?
Snoring in pregnancy is totally normal and just an unpleasant side effect for many. But for some it can be a sign of an underlying problem.
Is snoring in pregnancy a sign of preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a condition that affects pregnant women usually during the second half of their pregnancy. It means that the placenta doesn’t get enough blood from the mother’s body, leading to disruption of blood flow between mother and baby. Research has linked snoring to hypertensive disorders which includes preeclampsia. Early signs include high blood pressure and protein in your urine.
In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:
- severe headaches
- vision problems, such as blurring or flashing
- pain just below the ribs
- sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet
If you experience any symptoms of preeclampsia, you should seek medical advice immediately by calling your midwife, GP surgery or NHS 111.
If I snore do I have sleep apnoea?
Not every person that snores has obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA is a serious condition that can affect your quality of sleep and your overall health. It causes your airway to temporarily close, stopping you from being able to breathe.
If you experience any of the following symptoms alongside your snoring, it could indicate that you have OSA:
- excessive or loud snoring
- pauses in breathing
- gasping or choking during sleep
- frequently waking up with a headache
- difficulty in concentrating in the daytime
It’s important to visit your doctor if you suspect you have OSA. They’ll be able to give you an official diagnosis and recommend the best treatment option for you. If left untreated, OSA could deprive you or your baby of oxygen. It may also increase the risk of other health conditions like heart disease or pulmonary embolism.
Will I continue snoring after pregnancy?
It’s different for everyone – some may continue to snore throughout their postpartum period. Research shows that around half of pregnant women stop snoring postpartum. For those that continue to snore, they often see an improvement over time.
How can I stop snoring during pregnancy?
There are various things that you can try to reduce your snoring. It’s still a good idea to let your doctor know that you’ve started snoring, as it may signal a medical condition that needs more attention.
- Sleep on your side. Snoring is known to be worse when you sleep on your back. Try sleeping on your left side with some cushions behind you to prevent you from rolling over. This is recommended for pregnant women as it improves blood flow and reduces pressure on the organs.
- Elevate your upper body. Propping yourself up by a few inches can help keep your airway open as you sleep.
- Keep to a healthy weight. It’s inevitable that you’re going to put on weight during pregnancy. Just keep an eye on your calorie intake, and make sure to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to avoid the risk of excess weight.
- Try congestion snoring relief. You can reduce snoring caused by obstructions of the nasal passages by using the following products:
- effective snoring relief for up to 8 hours
- made from natural ingredients
- opens the airways
- worn across the nose
- hypoallergenic and latex-free
- improves airflow
- worn inside the nose
- instantly opens nasal passages
- fits any nose and is fully adjustable
Snoring in pregnancy is very common, so there’s no need to worry. If you have any questions or concerns about how it may affect your pregnancy, speak to your doctor.