Snoring During Pregnancy (When and How to Fix It)

Dispel myths, see the science, sort the problem.

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on July 23rd, 2021

Did you know that snoring during sleep increases in women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy? Snoring during pregnancy happens quite often to expectant mothers and it’s usually harmless. However,  it’s best to keep track of how frequently you snore when pregnant. Here’s why:

  • Some studies indicate that snoring can sometimes lead to prenatal depressive symptoms in some women.
  • In rare situations, snoring in the late stages of pregnancy may increase edema (i.e. swelling in the ankles, for some pregnant women).
  • According to other studies, in severe cases of snoring, some women are at risk of problematic delivery.

By addressing snoring during pregnancy, you can avoid any of the above-mentioned scenarios and ensure that you have covered all of your bases, ready for delivery. Plus, you won’t have to deal with your partner making jokes about your snoring.

Why do women snore during pregnancy?

About 46% of women snore during their pregnancy, with some women witnessing an increase in snoring as their pregnancy advances. The most common causes of snoring are:

  • An increase in levels of progesterone and estrogen causes swelling within the mucus membranes in your nose. Swelling of the mucus membrane leads to nose congestion, which worsens when you lie down and gives rise to snores.
  • Nasal congestion due to other reasons, such as cough or cold.
  • A rise in blood pressure (BP) can sometimes cause snoring, since high BP can cause your nasal passages to swell. In fact, severe snoring is a sign of pregnancy-induced hypertension and it is more common in obese mothers.
  • Weight gain is also associated with snoring since weight gain in the throat and neck can make it tougher to breathe properly during sleep.

When does snoring begin and end while someone is pregnant?

Snoring can happen either in the second or the third trimester of your pregnancy. If you are snoring in the first trimester, consult your doctor as it may indicate a more serious issue. Snoring, more often than not, ends after your pregnancy is over and your body sheds the baby weight.

Does snoring impact the unborn baby?

If you snore occasionally while you are pregnant, then do not be concerned, it’s normal. However, if you snore often in a given week, there is a greater chance of getting diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing comes to a halt repeatedly before starting again. It can prevent an undisturbed night of sleep and can leave you feeling very fatigued, worsening your snoring. Sleep apnea affects up to 20% of pregnant women.

It is something to monitor since your body receives less oxygen when your breathing stops. This can affect your pregnancy by increasing the risk of pre-eclampsia, edema, preterm delivery, hypertension, depression, and other diseases. Do not panic, this is just to ensure you are well-informed to keep you and your baby safe.

There is limited evidence of impaired fetal growth if a pregnant mother snores during pregnancy. In some cases, the snoring may only be an indicator of a preexisting breathing condition in the mother, which hardly ever affects the baby. Finally, there is no evidence of any stillbirths due to snoring and associated medical conditions during pregnancy.

5 tips for reducing unwanted snoring during pregnancy

Here are practical ways to manage snoring for a healthier pregnancy and a peaceful sleeping experience:

  1. Sleep on an electrically adjustable bed. Sleeping on an electric adjustable bed can help you manage snoring. Certain electrical adjustable beds come with a feature that allows you to lift your head and sleep in a position that reduces snoring. You can adjust the bed to a position that will help reduce strain on your heart and improve blood circulation. Health benefits and luxury, treat yourself!
  2. Boost your healthy eating and exercise. Data suggests that, on average, women tend to gain 25 pounds (11.34 kg) during pregnancy; however, gaining more weight than this amount could give rise to complications. It is essential to maintain a nutritious diet and to refrain from sugars and high-calorie foods to help maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, avoid consuming alcohol and cigarettes. Lastly, consult your doctor about an exercise regimen that is not too strenuous for your body.
  3. Live in a pollution-free environment. Some studies indicate that the presence of pollution can increase the risk of hypertension and snoring. It is important to live, work, eat, exercise, and sleep in a pollution-free environment.
  4. Try products and devices. Nasal strips and humidifiers help reduce nasal congestion and allow you to sleep peacefully. Elevation pillows are also good for distributing your weight in bed for uninterrupted sleep.
  5. Sleep on one side and avoid sleeping pills. Doctors recommend sleeping on your left side to enhance circulation and to prevent snoring during pregnancy.

If you rely on sleeping pills, it is advised to stop taking them during pregnancy.

Wrapping up

Snoring during pregnancy is common and, with active intervention, you’ll find that snoring poses no danger to you or your little bundle of joy.

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on July 23rd, 2021
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