Snoring is a very common sleep problem that occurs when your throat muscles or the tissues around it relax, which partially obstructs the airway and vibrates because of your breathing.
It has been noted that pregnant women too, are likely to experience snoring during and after pregnancy.
Some pregnant women may not even show signs of snoring but can be triggered due to several factors.
In fact, it has been reported that snoring occurs in half of all women during pregnancy.
Habitual snorers or frequent snorers during pregnancy can lead to health risk factors because chronic snoring is often associated with a serious sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea.
In this article, we will focus on different situations that can cause snoring during and after pregnancy.
We will also look at certain measures you can take to prevent habitual snoring so that it does not lead to any adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Why Do Women Snore During Pregnancy?
Snoring and daytime sleepiness are very common especially in the third trimester during pregnancy.
While the raspy harsh sound of snores can be trouble for you and your sleep partner, it is known to increase during pregnancy.
If you are a chronic snorer, it can impact your maternal health, pregnancy outcome, and in some rare cases cause fetal complications.
Here are some of the factors that trigger snoring during pregnancy:
Drinking a lot of fluid is important during pregnancy because your body is constantly producing blood for the baby.
Due to this, there is a lot of fluid retention in different parts of your body which aids in expanding your body with water weight for the baby.
This also causes the blood vessels and tissues in your throat to swell up and restrict the airway while you sleep, thus causing snoring.
Gestational diabetes occurs in women who are pregnant which can ultimately lead to pregnancy snoring. In the United States, every year around 2-10% of pregnant women develop type 3 diabetes.
The weight gain from pregnancy could disrupt the airflow and oxygen supply which can cause gestational hypertension which coincidentally develops diabetes and results in snoring.
Gaining weight during the second and third semesters can cause snoring.
Gaining a safe amount of weight during pregnancy is important for you and the baby but too much weight can trigger snoring.
As you gain weight, the fat accumulated in the throat and neck circumference can block the upper airway, narrowing your passage of air.
The vibration caused due to this, causes you to snore.
Changes in Hormone Levels
The changes in pregnancy hormones can impact your body in different ways by causing inflammation, dizziness, nausea, clumsiness, and even snoring.
Changes in Progesterone, Relaxin, HCG, Estrogen, and a few others can increase swelling in the mucous membrane in the nose that causes nasal congestion.
Eventually narrowing your airway and making it difficult for you to breathe through your mouth during your sleep that causes you to snore.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes serious pauses of breathing.
It can be quite detrimental for pregnant women as it can have increased health risks for the mother and the baby in the womb.
Read further to understand more about obstructive sleep apnea and its effects on pregnancy.
Why is Sleep Important During the Third Semester?
For most women, the third semester is the most crucial stage of your pregnancy. It brings a host of sleep-related problems that can cause disrupted sleep.
Pregnant women require a lot of sleep so that the fetus in the womb is equipped with everything it needs to be healthy.
Daytime sleepiness and fatigue are the most common symptoms that you will notice in third-semester pregnancies.
Weight gain, hormones fluctuate. fluid retention, and so on can directly impact the muscles, blood flow, and joints of the body.
Some of the factors that can influence third-trimester sleep are:
- Back pain
- Restless legs syndrome
These factors can influence the quality of your sleep and the only way to reduce or prevent these symptoms is by maintaining healthy sleep hygiene.
Testing and treating the symptoms at the right can protect the mother and the baby from any health complications.
Is Snoring a Sign of Preeclampsia?
Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is commonly found in pregnant women as the pregnancy progresses.
Sleep-related changes can cause different SDB symptoms in early pregnancy and late pregnancy in women that have an increased risk of sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that is caused by loud snoring that can increase the risk of health conditions such as heart diseases, strokes, and high blood pressure.
The sudden onset of high blood pressure during pregnancy is often the symptom of preeclampsia.
During pregnancy, this condition must be prevented from progressing to eclampsia which can cause adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Some of the symptoms that are caused due to preeclampsia are swelling of the face, hands, and ankles, sudden weight gain not related to eating, and vision changes.
Severe or worsening preeclampsia can also lead to preterm births or a planned cesarean delivery before 37 weeks. You must visit your doctor if any of these symptoms arise.
Untreated sleep apnea during pregnancy can put your baby in harm's way since this sleep condition can deprive your body of oxygen.
Ensure that your doctor is aware of the variety of symptoms you may experience during pregnancy.
For instance, weight gain is normal during pregnancy but it can also cause snoring, sleep apnea, preeclampsia, and other sleep-related conditions.
You can consider using an anti-snoring mouthpiece or mouthguard to treat this sleeping condition. Our article on best anti snoring devices can help you find the right sleeping solution.
The doctor can help you maintain a healthy weight for you and your baby. And also recommend treatment to help improve your breathing and maintain good sleep hygiene.
How to Avoid Snoring During Pregnancy?
There are several methods that you can do to prevent snoring during your pregnancy months.
It is important to reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms during this time as it can significantly impact the growth of your fetus and can cause complications in the future.
Use these tips below to help reduce your snoring:
- Anti-snoring devices such as MADs and TSDs
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Add an extra pillow or wedge to raise your neck while sleeping
- Change sleep position
- Consider nasal strips, dilators, cones, etc
- Avoid spicy meals
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
- Avoid sleep medication
- Eat healthily and properly
- Use a humidifier
- CPAP machine for sleep apnea (most effective for OSA)
If you are pregnant and your snoring keeps increasing and getting louder, you must visit a doctor at the earliest. The sooner you get it treated the safer you and your baby will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does snoring stop after pregnancy?
Snoring will likely stop after your pregnancy once you lost some of the baby weight
Does sleep apnea disappear after pregnancy?
Untreated sleep apnea during pregnancy can continue to persist even after pregnancy which can lead to health risks and complications for the child. Most often, sleep apnea symptoms will disappear post-pregnancy while some symptoms will disappear after 6-8 months.
Can mild sleep apnea symptoms be treated without CPAP?
Yes, mild sleep apnea symptoms can be treated or reduced with certain anti-snoring aids. But a CPAP machine is the most effective in dealing with different sleep apnea symptoms.