You’re prepared for the morning sickness, weight gain and insomnia but the one side effect of pregnancy that you may not expect is snoring.
According to the very latest research, more and more women are snoring, often due to weight gain, and of course pregnancy brings the same result. In fact, more than 50 per cent of pregnant women are overweight or obese, according to the latest official survey statistics.
Studies show that between 25 and 30 per cent of women snore during pregnancy. In fact, a study in the journal SLEEP found that 35 per cent of women reported snoring 3 to 4 times a week, or even every single day. Plus, 26 per cent of women only started to snore during their pregnancies.
In the past 30 years however, snoring rates are higher than ever, mostly due to women starting their pregnancy overweight or gaining too much during the nine months. The extra tissue around the neck is what leads to snoring.
What causes snoring during pregnancy
Snoring always happens when the upper airways relax and partially close, making it more difficult to get enough air through the mouth and the nose and there are several reasons why snoring is common during pregnancy.
For starters, as your uterus and baby grow and press on your diaphragm, it’s inevitable that it will be much harder to breathe, whether you’re sitting on the couch, working out or sleeping.
Higher levels of hormones, particularly oestrogen, cause the mucus membranes and nasal passages to swell, too. Plus, your blood volume increases by 50 per cent, which expands the blood vessels and also causes the nasal membranes to swell.
What are the risks to Mum and her baby
Although you might choose to dismiss it because it’s temporary, or even laugh it off as an amusing interlude, the reality is that snoring during pregnancy is no laughing matter for a number of reasons.
- Women who snore during pregnancy have an increased risk for high blood pressure, fatigue, preeclampsia, and having smaller babies.
- Pregnant women with high blood pressure who also snore have an increased risk for obstructive sleep apnoea, which affects up to one-third of women during the last months of pregnancy, a study in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology found.
- Pregnant women who snore are also more likely to have a caesarean section and those who develop it pregnancy have an increased risk of having an emergency C-section, the same SLEEP study found.
- Another concern is gestational diabetes, which, according to the CDC, affects up to 9.2 per cent of women. That’s because when you’re not able to get enough oxygen, it alters your glucose metabolism.
- Pregnancy during snoring has also been linked to causing depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression
How to protect Mum and baby
The most important thing you need to do is recognise the signs early on.
Ask your partner if you snore, or stop breathing momentarily during the night or gasp for air. If you snore more than three nights a week and you also have high blood pressure, it’s likely that you also have obstructive sleep apnoea and you need to act on that. Although it’s common to feel tired during pregnancy, daytime sleepiness and extreme fatigue are strong indicators that you snore.
It’s important to be able to increase the quality of your breathing and maintain the supply of oxygen to your brain, and this can be done quite easily. By wearing a simple mouthpiece called a mandibular adjustment device, or MAD, the jaw is repositioned temporarily in a more forward position. The effect of this is to open the throat, which due to weight gain has been obstructed, and this improves breathing and stops the snoring at the same time,
NHS Approved mouthpieces are easily available online for a very small cost and companies such as SleepPro even have one that has been developed specially for women with this and their general snoring problems in mind. SleepPro Woman can be shaped to fit your mouth in seconds and is comfortable and easy to wear. It also has a measured 98% success rate and a money back satisfaction guarantee.
If your problem is sleep apnoea, then the SleepPro Custom is NHS recommended.