Snoring During Pregnancy
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I never snored before, so why am I snoring now that I am pregnant? Unfortunately, many women start to snore more than usual during pregnancy. You may not notice it yourself, of course, but your partner probably will. It doesn't happen to all pregnant women but if it happens to you, don't be alarmed. About 23% of women are thought to snore during pregnancy, compared to just 4% of non-pregnant women of the same age group. You will most likely return to your usual pattern of snoring (or non-snoring) once you have had your baby.
Why am I snoring more now?
Firstly, breathing in general is often harder when you are pregnant. You feel greater pressure on your diaphragm and your hormones make you take deeper breaths, which can make you feel as though you are struggling for breath. Many women report experiencing an increased "stuffiness" during pregnancy, which is probably due to hormones and increased blood flow. This makes your nasal passages more swollen and your mucus production higher. If your nasal passages are narrower, you are more likely to snore.
Whether you are pregnant or not, snoring is linked to weight, so make sure that you are not gaining weight too quickly. Speak to your doctor or midwife if you are concerned about your rate of weight gain. If you were overweight before you got pregnant then you are more likely to suffer from snoring during pregnancy.
Should I be worried about snoring during pregnancy?
Most snoring is not considered dangerous or anything to worry about. The main problem with snoring is that it could keep you and your partner from getting a good night's rest.
There is a condition known as sleep apnoea, however, and if you have this then it will need to be treated. The main symptom of sleep apnoea is very loud snoring broken by gasping and seemingly long periods where you don't take a breath. Your partner is more than likely to notice this before you do, so ask them to let you know if it is happening.
What can I do to stop snoring?
Whilst snoring generally isn't something to be worried about in terms of your health, it may be waking you up at night, or more likely, waking your partner.
Make sure that you are sleeping on your side. There are a number of reasons why sleeping on your side (your left side in particular) is important during pregnancy, but it will also help to reduce snoring. Sleeping on your back is known to increase snoring, but pregnant women should not sleep on their back anyway, as it can put too much pressure on the spine and affect the circulatory system. You can also try propping your head and upper body up while you are sleeping; this will help to reduce congestion and could help you to stop snoring.
As snoring is thought to affect people more if they are overweight, keep an eye on your weight gain and discuss any concerns with your midwife.
If you think you are snoring because you are congested, you may find that it helps to have a humidifier in the room where you sleep at night. Be aware of any possible allergies you may have, for example pet hair. If you think your cat or dog is increasing your problems with congestion then make sure that they are kept well away from your bedroom at all times. Now might be a good time to train them to stay in certain areas of the house anyway, as you will want to keep them away from the baby when he or she arrives.
Finally, you could also try using nasal strips. These are sticky strips that you place on your nose at night. They help to dilate your nostrils, allowing more air into the nasal passage with each breath. Nasal strips are readily available from most chemists, so they might be worth a try.