One of the many, many bodily changes that take place during pregnancy is a shift in one’s sleeping habits. It’s possible that you’ll need to switch up your sleeping posture or invest in a pregnancy pillow in order to feel comfortable. It’s possible that you’ll find yourself waking up multiple times throughout the night to use the restroom. Also, if you want your partner to sleep through the night without being disturbed by your snoring, you might want to consider purchasing some earplugs for them.
An obstetrician and gynecologist based in Maryland named Salome Masghati, MD, FACOG, has stated that “it is definitely not uncommon for women to start snoring after becoming pregnant.”
Find out why many individuals start snoring during pregnancy, how to lessen it, and how to identify whether your snoring is an indication of something more serious in the following article.
Why Do Pregnant People Snore More?
The hormonal shifts that occur during pregnancy are mostly responsible for the increased chance of snoring, as these shifts are necessary for the development of your baby. According to Dr. Masghati, “During pregnancy, your body naturally creates a lot of progesterone to assist in keeping the pregnancy going.” Because of the impact that progesterone has on the smooth muscle in your airways and nasal passages, these hormones can cause your airways to become more open.
The roof of your mouth can drop during the night, which can lead to snoring if the muscle tone in your throat continues to deteriorate.
This drooping of the roof of your mouth is also what causes snoring in people who aren’t pregnant. The muscles in the throat relax so much during sleep that they partially block the airway and vibrate when you breathe, which is what causes snoring in people who aren’t pregnant. The fact that progesterone has the effect of relaxing muscles, however, makes it substantially more probable that pregnant people may experience this.
“Additionally, progesterone can lead to the dilatation of arteries in our mucus membranes, leading to nasal congestion, which further exacerbates snoring,” adds Dr. Masghati. “This further contributes to the noise that we make as we sleep.” Up to 39% of pregnant women have symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose, all of which can contribute to narrowing the airway, which in turn can cause snoring.
These symptoms can also be caused by allergies. In addition to past sleeping patterns, factors such as weight increase and fluid retention during pregnancy can also play a role in the outcome. “If a woman was previously a mouth-breather or was already overweight, the extra changes in pregnancy can lead to snoring to express itself in pregnancy,” Dr. Masghati explains. “The additional changes in pregnancy can lead to snoring to manifest itself in pregnancy.”
It’s possible that the surrounding environment played a role, too. Carleara Weiss, PhD, MS, RN, Aeroflow Sleep’s Sleep Science Advisor, explains that environmental factors like humidity and dry air can sometimes cause snoring. “In some cases,” she says, “environmental factors like humidity and dry air can lead to snoring.”
How to Reduce Snoring?
Snoring can be alleviated to some degree by making a number of the physical adjustments that pregnant women make to increase their level of comfort in bed. Sleeping on one’s side, utilizing a body cushion or neck pillow, and elevating the head, neck, and shoulder area are some of the alterations that Dr. Weiss recommends in order to cut down on snoring.
It’s possible that using a humidifier will help cut down on your snoring.
Because gaining weight during pregnancy raises the risk that a woman will start snoring, keeping an eye on the number of extra pounds she puts on can help reduce the severity of the problem. According to Dr. Masghati, women who are already overweight should make every effort to limit their weight increase during pregnancy to no more than 20 pounds.
In addition to this, there are things you can do to keep your airways as clear as they possibly may be.
Dr. Masghati recommends doing moderate saline rinses of the nose to keep the airways clear. If a stuffy nose caused by pregnancy is one of the factors that contributes to your snoring, giving your nose a saline rinse before going to bed can be an extremely effective way to clear things out. “It’s also important to avoid any nasal decongestants containing pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine,” adds Dr.
Masghati, because some studies have suggested that these are not safe to use during pregnancy. “It’s also important to avoid any nasal decongestants containing pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine,” says Dr. Masghati.
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider?
Snoring during pregnancy may be an indication that there is a more significant issue going on, and this is true even if you have never snored before becoming pregnant.
Dr. Weiss recommends conducting further research into instances of chronic snoring that do not improve after the implementation of behavioral and environmental changes. The development of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition for which pregnancy is a risk factor, could be indicated by persistent snoring.
According to Dr. Masghati, a condition known as sleep apnea, in which a person repeatedly stops breathing while sleeping, can become a problem for some people. “There is a possibility that both the mother’s and the baby’s oxygen supplies will be disrupted.”
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is defined by periods of total or partial collapse of the airway during sleep. This decreases the quantity of oxygen that you are breathing in and, if it is not treated, can become deadly. “If you constantly feel tired despite getting adequate sleep, or if your partner observes periods of you not breathing at night, I would suggest that you seek medical attention,” says Dr.
Masghati. “I would suggest that you seek medical attention if your partner observes periods of you not breathing in the night.”
After that, your physician will probably suggest a sleep study, which is the test that is considered to be the gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea. It requires you to sleep in a laboratory while being watched by sensors that detect airflow and motion, as well as other symptoms that may indicate that you have sleep apnea. Continuous positive airway pressure, also known as CPAP, is the most popular and successful treatment for sleep apnea.
If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should start using this treatment immediately. According to Dr. Masghati, CPAP use during pregnancy is not seen as dangerous. “It is a mask that you wear that is coupled to a machine that creates constant positive airway pressure,” the author explains. Because of this, any pauses in breathing that might have occurred while you were asleep will no longer take place.