During pregnancy you can start to snore. And not a few of us do, about 1 in 4 women. But why does this happen and what is wrong?
You've read it everywhere for the nine months, you may feel nauseous, you may feel more tired, you may suffer from insomnia, and you may gain weight. But no one has probably told you that you can start snoring while pregnant!
Some studies show that 25 to 30% of women snore during pregnancy.
Why do you snore during pregnancy?
Snoring occurs when the upper airways relax and partially close during sleep, making it harder for enough air to pass through your mouth and nose.
Especially during pregnancy, the uterus grows hand in hand with the baby and presses on the diaphragm. For this reason, it's harder to breathe if you're sitting on the couch, sitting at work, or sleeping.
During the nine months, there are also high levels of hormones in the bloodstream, especially estrogen which causes the nasal mucous membranes to swell. The blood volume increases by about 50% and this also causes more swelling.
Over the past 30 years, however, snoring rates have been higher than ever. One of the reasons is that many women become overweight or gain too much weight during the nine months. Excess fatty tissue around the neck promotes snoring in pregnant women
Another often overlooked but important factor is the stress .
Stress affects breathing and can cause snoring. Any type of stress on the body, be it physical, mental or emotional stress, or even "digestive" stress from a large meal, can increase the rate of breathing. This increase, in combination with relaxed throat muscles during sleep, can cause snoring.
The risks of snoring for mom and baby
Snoring during pregnancy is a symptom not to be underestimated.
Women who snore during pregnancy have a higher risk of having high blood pressure, fatigue, pre-eclampsia and having younger children at birth .
Pregnant women with high blood pressure and snoring have an increased risk of experiencing obstructive sleep apnea , which affect up to a third of women in the last months of pregnancy and manifest as repeated episodes of complete and/or partial and/or prolonged upper airway obstruction during sleep. They are normally associated with a decrease in oxygen saturation in the blood.
Pregnant women who snore are more likely to have a caesarean section.
Another consequence could be gestational diabetes, which, according to the CDC, affects up to 9,2% of pregnant women. This happens because when breathing is insufficient, glucose metabolism is impaired.
Snoring during pregnancy has also been linked to depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression.
How to prevent or stop snoring during pregnancy?
First of all, it is important to ask your partner if you snore and if you notice any episodes of apnea while you sleep. If you snore more than three nights a week and you also have high blood pressure, you may have obstructive sleep apnea.
Although feeling tired during pregnancy is common, daytime sleepiness or extreme fatigue are good indicators of nighttime snoring.
Talk to your doctor if you are in this situation.
Learn to breathe well
To improve sleep, it is important to breathe well when you wake up. If you improve your breathing during the day, you will also benefit at night. Always try to breathe through your nose. If you feel short of breath, breathe through your mouth but slowly and gently.
Don't gain too much weight
It is important not to gain too much weight and therefore try to have good nutrition.
Sleep in the right position
Sleeping on the left side optimizes blood circulation, help yourself with pregnancy pillows.
Eat (but low calorie)
Avoid having a large meal at night and go to bed immediately. Try to eat dinner several hours before bed and if you're hungry have a snack, but avoid sugars which can increase your breathing rate (and therefore cause snoring) when metabolized.
Humidify the room
Keeping the air in the room at the right humidity prevents the nasal mucous membranes from drying out, which makes breathing difficult
Drugstore patches may provide temporary relief by keeping your nostrils dilated. In this way, if on the one hand breathing is facilitated, on the other hand it modifies the speed of the inhaled air. As this speed increases, the air does not have enough time to be purified, heated and humidified before reaching the lungs,
Relaxation is used to combat stress which is one of the causes of snoring.
Consultation of a specialist.
If you think you have obstructive sleep apnea, see a specialist.