Snoring During Pregnancy: Causes and Effects

Snoring During Pregnancy: Causes and Effects

Snoring not only messes with the quality of your sleep (and makes you a less-than-popular bedmate), but it could potentially be bad for your new baby’s health if you’re pregnant, finds a new study from the University of Michigan.

It tends to be more of a problem in the third trimester. In one study, almost a quarter of women reported frequent snoring and another 25 percent reported occasional snoring by the last week of their pregnancy.


Researchers found that moms who snored three or more nights a week had a higher risk of poor delivery outcomes, including C-section births and delivering smaller babies. Many women who haven’t snored in the past start snoring during pregnancy, likely because of weight gain, fluid retention (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues), and changes in hormones levels. You could be at greater risk of getting high blood pressure and Preeclamsia (seizers), according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Snoring And Its Origin

Snoring is defined as a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose & throat (upper airway). It is caused by turbulence inside the airway during inspiration. The turbulence is caused by a partial blockage that may be located anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. The restriction may occur only during sleep, or it may persist all the time and be worse when we are asleep. This is because our muscle tone is reduced during sleep and there may be insufficient muscle tone to prevent the airway tissue vibrating. During waking hours muscle tone keeps the airway in good shape; that’s why we don’t snore when awake.

  • Snoring can originate from the nose, oropharynx or the base of the tongue. In recent years it has been found that the tongue plays a far more important role in the incidence of snoring than was once thought.
  • Swollen nasal passages may be at least partly to blame for your midnight melodies. Higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy contribute to swelling in the mucous membranes lining the nose and can even cause you to make more mucus.
  • The amount of blood in your body increases when you’re pregnant and your blood vessels expand, which can lead to swollen nasal membranes.
  • Congestion from other causes, such as a cold or allergies, can cause snoring.
  • The heavier you are to begin with and the more weight you gain during pregnancy, the more likely you are to have trouble breathing during sleep, because of the extra tissue in your neck and throat.
  • Frequent, loud snoring could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, your airway becomes blocked, causing you to briefly stop breathing in your sleep – sometimes as many as a hundred times a night! If your partner notices that you’re snoring a lot and making periodic snorting or gasping sounds in your sleep, let your doctor or midwife know. That way you can be evaluated for sleep apnea and treated if necessary.


Snoring is something that cannot be stopped at will, neither is it something that can be cured. It can however, be successfully controlled. Snoring is caused by a physical abnormality that needs to be identified before a control can be found. This is not as difficult as it seems and the good news is there is a control for everybody. Finding the cause is the key to finding solution. In most instances snoring can be controlled by simple self-help remedies.

Nose Strips

If you’re looking for snoring relief, don’t bother with over-the-counter nose strips such as Breathe Rite — they’re effective for snoring due to nasal congestion, but not for pregnancy-related snoring.


Maintaining Healthy Weight During Pregnancy

If you’ve gained weight and started snoring and did not snore before you gained weight. “If you gain weight around your neck, it squeezes the internal diameter of the throat, making it more likely to collapse during sleep, triggering snoring.

Many factors that go into a healthy pregnancy, and therefore doctors and midwives advise healthy eating and exercise in pregnancy, it’s becoming increasingly known that healthy sleep is also important not only for mom’s health but also for baby’s.


This is the reason that now a days Ante –Natal exercise fitness program, Yoga and Nutrition program are more popular.

Sleeping Posture

To avoid snoring during pregnancy, Dr. O’Brien suggests sleeping on your side or sleeping slightly propped up with a pillow.


If you do snore more than three nights a week, have high blood pressure, and sometimes wake up feeling like you’re gasping for air, talk to you doctor about treatment options. The most common treatment is with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a machine that uses air pressure to keep the airways open during sleep.

Open Nasal Passages

A stuffed-up nose makes breathing difficult, especially at night. Lying down can create a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. You can clear nasal passages by using a Neti pot, an over-the-counter saline spray or a humidifier. Nasal decongestants are another option as they improve inhalation and allow you to breathe more easily both during the day and while sleeping.


If snoring starts in your nose, keeping nasal passages open may help. It allows air to move through slower, Slaughter says. “Imagine a narrow garden hose with water running through. The narrower the hose, the faster the water rushes through.”

Your nasal passages work similarly. If your nose is clogged or narrowed due to a cold or other blockage, the fast-moving air is more likely to produce snoring.


A hot shower or steam inhalation before you go to bed can help open nasal passages.

  • A Neti Pot could also be used to rinse out the nasal passages with a salt-water solution.
  • Ayurveda Nasal Drop Therapy ( Nasyam) : apply 2 drops of coconut oil or almond oil into each nostril ½ hour before going to bed.
  • Change Your Pillows
  • Dust mites Dust mites accumulate in pillows and can cause allergic reactions that can lead to snoring. Allowing pets to sleep on the bed causes you to breathe in animal dander, another common irritant.

Stay Well Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids. “Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated,” Slaughter says. “This can create more snoring.” According to the Institute of Medicine, should have about 11 cups of total water (from all drinks and food) a day; men require about 16 cups.

Lower Leg Edema

One study found that people with sleep apnea, who tend to have fluid collect in their lower legs and ankles may be helped by wearing compression stockings during the day. Keeping the fluid from collecting in the legs during the day may prevent the fluid from causing swelling of tissues in the nose and throat at night.

Relaxation Therapy

Anulom-Vilom Pranayam, Bhramari Pranayam, Ujjayi Pranayam and Meditation help to calm down the mind.

Take Care of Bloated Stomach

Drink Lime water, Ginger Tea, Caraway seed, anise seeds etc. home remedies helps in this condition.