Are you surprised by how noisy you are at night now that you’re pregnant?
Don’t worry — you’re not the first woman to start snoring during pregnancy!
Rest assured that though snoring can be annoying and even a little embarrassing, it’s all perfectly natural.
In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons behind snoring during pregnancy, you can bring some peace and quiet to your evenings again.
Why Does Pregnancy Make You Snore?
Just when you think the weird pregnancy changes have finally stopped, your partner shakes you awake one night at 2 a.m., woken by the earth-shattering sound of your snoring. Your what? That’s right!
Pregnancy makes you snore. How cruel do our bodies have to be sometimes, right?
Before you become alarmed, snoring is a perfectly normal phenomenon during pregnancy and it can start for many different reasons. One in three women experience some degree of snoring during pregnancy, so you’re far from alone (1).
When you’re pregnant, you swell. It just seems to happen everywhere, your nasal passages included. Add to this those pregnancy hormones which increase nasal congestion and your uterus pressing high up against your lungs, and it understandably becomes harder to breathe properly (2). When you can’t breathe through your nose, you breathe through your mouth. This is why you start snoring!
Weight gain, increased blood pressure, and normal changes to the soft palate can also increase your chances of snoring. Though pregnancy snoring is nothing to worry about, it’s always a good idea to let your doctor know of any more extreme changes, in case something else is going on.
When Does Snoring Start?
Snoring can start as early as the second trimester, but it’s most commonly noticed during the third trimester when swelling is at its greatest (3). Every woman will have a different experience, but this is a common time for a woman to notice she’s keeping the rest of the household awake.
If you’re in your first trimester and have already noticed more snoring, bring it up with your doctor. It’s unlikely this is related to swelling or increased blood flow, and may indicate a more serious problem.
Does the Snoring Ever End?
Don’t worry — your evening snoring symphonies won’t last forever! Once your baby is born, your body returns to normal, swelling decreases, you lose the baby weight, and the snoring should finally stop.
Are you ready to start being the one woken up by your partner’s snoring again? Maybe some of the methods that help you can be used on them, too!
Methods to Prevent Pregnancy Snoring
A few free, easy things you can do at home can fix your snoring problem in an instant. Not all of these will work on an equally loudly snoring spouse, but they should at least cut down on snoring from you!
1. Sleep on Your Side
It’s already recommended you sleep on your side while pregnant since it improves circulation and keeps your weight off of your organs and joints. To help prevent snoring, your left side is usually the “good” side.
2. Change Your Diet
Gaining some weight while pregnant is good, but there is a limit. On average, pregnant women should gain around 25 pounds during their pregnancy — gaining too much could put extra pressure around your airway.
If you feel like weight gain could be causing your snoring, cut back a bit on your intake or replace unhealthy, calorific foods in your diet with lighter and healthier ones.
You will gain more weight if you’re carrying multiples — I gained 35 pounds when I was pregnant with my twins and that was perfectly normal! Your doctor can tell you how much weight is appropriate to gain for your pregnancy.
Editor's Note:Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN
3. Don’t Try Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills aren’t the best idea when you’re pregnant since they can interfere with the development of your baby. In an amusing twist, they may work for your partner if they need help sleeping through your snoring, but they definitely aren’t for you!
You should also be careful to avoid anything that could close your throat up and lead to snoring. Tobacco and alcohol are two of the main culprits since they dehydrate your throat and palate, but if you’re pregnant you’re avoiding those anyway!
4. Prop Yourself Up
Sometimes, it can be as easy as elevating your head. During more than half of my pregnancy, I slept with two pillows under my head, one under my stomach, and one between my legs. It might have looked crazy, but my husband and I both got our much-needed rest! Bonus: propping your head up can also help with reflux symptoms in the later stages of pregnancy.
5. Make the Sofa Your New “Homebase”
So. You’ve tried everything, but the snoring still won’t stop?
It’s not the most elegant solution, but you might consider exiling someone to the sofa, at least for a little while. For me personally, I had so much trouble sleeping during the third trimester I more or less camped out in the living room for those last couple of weeks!
3 Products to Help Stop the Snore
If nothing else works, it might be time to get some outside help. Talk to your doctor first to see if they have any suggestions, but you could always try these three excellent products to cut down on snoring and get you and your partner that much-needed silent night.
1. Nasal Strips
A really good way to end snoring is to get some nasal strips. They don’t hurt, they’re inexpensive, and they’re so easy to use.
I loved these while I was pregnant and they work great for, ahem, certain other snoring problems in the family.
Both warm and cool-mist humidifiers help with nasal congestion, which is the main cause of snoring in pregnant women. Humidifiers are best used with nasal strips, but also work on their own. The humidifier is also great for when you or your little one has a cold, so it serves a purpose long after you’ve had your baby!.
3. Elevation Pillow
Every pregnant woman should invest in a special pillow for sleep, but if you’re still in the market for one, keep on the lookout for an elevation pillow.
These keep your nasal passages open and clear to prevent snoring, and help you sleep better by distributing your weight more evenly.
Can Snoring Be Dangerous While Pregnant?
Usually snoring during pregnancy isn’t harmful or a reason to worry at all, but in some cases, it’s a sign of something more serious. Discussing snoring with your doctor can help you figure out if what you’re experiencing could be problematic.
Some of the most common problems that snoring may indicate in pregnant women are:
- High blood pressure: Snoring can cause high blood pressure, which is dangerous to both you and baby. Getting your snoring under control can help prevent this from happening.
- Sleep apnea: When you snore, you’re at risk for going periods without breathing. These are short instances, but still dangerous for your baby if your body is deprived of oxygen.
- Gestational diabetes: If you haven’t taken the glucose test yet, make sure you do! Sometimes snoring is a side effect of this condition.
- Low birth weight: Snoring can exacerbate inflammation in the body, which can lead to low birth weight. This isn’t always the case, but it’s worth talking about with your doctor nonetheless.
Though some of the above seem a little frightening, most problems are easily solved if caught early on. Modern medicine can work wonders to safely deliver your baby, even if you experience difficulties caused by snoring during pregnancy.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices can be prescribed for true sleep apnea. They work well but are usually reserved for women with a preexisting sleep apnea problem and not just for snoring in pregnancy.
Is it Okay to Just Snore?
As long as your doctor hasn’t found any reason for concern and you’re not too bothered by the occasional sleepless night, feel free to handle your snoring however you choose! If it isn’t a problem in your home, don’t let it become one.
Enjoying your pregnancy in a way that feels good for you is what’s most important. Snoring is a little annoying, sure, but not the end of the world. As long as you feel good and you’re happy, that is what matters.