Snoring In Pregnancy
With pregnancy comes a lot of excitement, preparation, and, of course, physical and emotional changes. Now that you are pregnant, you have probably noticed that your stomach is beginning to grow and change shape, and you may be experiencing a number of pregnancy symptoms, ranging from morning sickness to back pain. As you come to the end of your pregnancy, you and your partner may also begin to notice that you are snoring a lot when you sleep! Snoring is a particularly common discomfort of pregnancy, and unfortunately, it can have serious repercussions on your energy levels and well-being. Here are some tips on how to curb that pregnancy-related snoring and get a better night’s sleep!
Most of us have had our share of snoring experiences. Whether you were a snorer before you became pregnant or if you happen to share a room with a serious snorer, we can all understand how much of a problem it can be.
Snoring occurs when your airways become obstructed, making it impossible to breathe properly. As a result, you begin to make strange breathing noises as you sleep. These noises can be fairly quiet, or they might be quite loud and disturbing. You may also experience difficulty breathing at night or notice that you are particularly congested. When these symptoms occur during pregnancy, you are suffering from pregnancy-related snoring!
But I’m Not a Snorer!
If you weren’t a snorer before you became pregnant, you may feel as if there is something seriously wrong with you. But try not to worry – snoring is actually extremely common during pregnancy. In fact, up to 25% to 30% of all pregnant women snore at some point during their pregnancies, particularly during the second and third trimesters. And of those pregnant women who do snore, 25% go on to experience chronic or severe snoring symptoms.
Am I at Risk for Pregnancy Snoring?
It is hard to tell exactly who will suffer from snoring during pregnancy. In fact, pretty much any woman can experience mild to severe snoring symptoms at any point throughout her pregnancy. However, there do seem to be a few factors that may increase your risks of pregnancy snoring. These risk factors include:
- excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- being obese during pregnancy
- having a larger neck size (women who snore tend to have a neck size that is about one centimeter larger than women who do not snore)
- suffering from maternal asthma
Why am I Snoring?
There has long been debate over why pregnant women suffer from snoring during pregnancy. A recent study performed at the University of Edinburgh has revealed at least one cause for pregnancy-related snoring. It appears that, during pregnancy, a woman’s upper airways become increasingly restricted. As you gain weight during pregnancy, some of this fat is stored around the throat and neck. This soft tissue collects around the upper airways, causing it to narrow. This creates an obstruction in your airway, contributing to snoring.
Other pregnancy-related issues also seem to trigger snoring in pregnant women. Throughout your pregnancy, your body has an increased blood flow. This increased blood flow helps to nourish you and your growing baby. However, it also causes blood vessels in your body to expand. As the blood vessels in your nose and throat expand, mucous membranes in the area begin to swell, too. As a result, your body produces more mucous in these areas, making it difficult to breathe without obstruction.
Is Snoring During Pregnancy Dangerous?
There is some evidence to suggest that snoring during pregnancy can increase your likelihood of developing certain pregnancy-related complications. A Swedish study conducted in 2000 found a link between pregnancy-related snoring and hypertension. It also noted possible complications in babies who were born to mother’s who snored.
The study involved 500 pregnant women and their partners. The participants were asked to rate their snoring levels on a questionnaire, before and after giving birth. These levels were then correlated with the incidence of certain pregnancy-related complications within the group. Additionally, upon delivery, the result of their baby’s Apgar tests were also recorded.
The study found a distinct correlation between those women who ranked themselves as habitual snorers (snoring almost every day) and pregnancy-related complications. In particular, 14% of the habitual snorers reported suffering from pregnancy-inducedhypertension, while 10% reported cases of preeclampsia. Habitual snorers were also more likely to have babies that scored seven or less on their Apgar tests.
Is It Sleep Apnea?
Some pregnant women find that they suffer from severe snoring throughout the night. You may even notice that this snoring actually wakes you up from a sound sleep. If you are experiencing these symptoms you may actually be suffering from a condition known as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder, closely related to snoring, which causes your airways to completely close off while you sleep. This makes it impossible for your lungs to breathe in oxygen, causing you to wake up. It is important to seek help from your health care provider for sleep apnea. Long-term sleep apnea can severely affect your energy levels and deprive you and baby of much-needed oxygen. Your health care provider can recommend an appropriate and effective treatment to help keep your airways open.
Say Sayonara To Snoring: Snoring Relief Tips
If you have been snoring during your pregnancy, you don’t have to suffer. Here are some easy tips to help you stop snoring and get a better night’s sleep:
- Avoid drinking excessive caffeine. Caffeine can cause the blood vessels in your throat to expand, causing your airways to narrow even more.
- Try to sleep on your side. This will help to keep your airways open as you sleep.
- Prop up your head using an extra pillow. By elevating your head an extra four inches, you can help to open up those airways.
- Try adhesive nose strips. These nose strips help to widen the nostrils, making it easier to breathe.
- Talk to your health care provider about a jaw insert or mouthguard. These plastic inserts work to keep your jaw aligned so that you can breathe properly.
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