Snoring generally is often linked to lifestyle, but you can also find yourself snoring in pregnancy when you didn’t snore before your were pregnant. Why?

With some simple changes you can make efforts to prevent snoring generally or you may just need some guidance during your pregnancy.

Five self-help general snoring tips

  • Maintain a healthy weight and diet. Being overweight by just a few kilos can lead to snoring. Fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents air flowing in and out freely.
  • Try to sleep on your side rather than your back. While sleeping on your back, your tongue, chin and any excess fatty tissue under your chin can relax and squash your airway. Sleeping on your side prevents this.
  • Avoid alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol makes your muscles relax more than usual during a normal night’s sleep. This may encourage the back of your throat to collapse as you breathe, which causes snoring.
  • Quit or cut down on smoking. Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of your nose and throat, causing swelling and catarrh. This means airflow is decreased and you’re more likely to snore.
  • Keep your nose clear, so that you breathe in through your nose rather than your mouth. If an allergy is blocking your nose, try antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray. Ask your pharmacist for advice, or see your GP, if you’re affected by an allergy or any other condition that affects your nose or breathing, such as sinusitis.

Sleeping in pregnancy

Sleeping in pregnancy can be a struggle, especially in the later months.  Midwife Caron Cooch explains the various ways pregnant mothers can get more comfortable at night.

As your bump gets bigger and you get further on in pregnancy it gets more and more difficult to be comfortable at night so it’s a case of trying to find a position that’s most comfortable for you.

Usually the most comfortable position is lying on your side, maybe curled up using pillows to support you between your legs, at your back, maybe one underneath the bump.

There is growing evidence that lying on your left side improves the blood flow to the placenta and that means the baby gets more nutrients in that position – but don’t feel that means that you have to stay in that position all night, and you’ll naturally be getting up at night to go out to the loo so when you come back you’ll usually find yourself going into a different position for a while.

Massage is always useful in helping to make you feel more comfortable and probably the best place will be in the lower part of your spine.  If you have been lying on one side for any length of time and your hip feels uncomfortable your birth partner could try massaging that for you.

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Snoring in pregnancy linked to low birth weight

“Snoring in pregnancy is linked to smaller babies,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

There is also evidence that snoring can lead to an increased risk of a baby having to be delivered by caesarean section.

This news is based on the results of a US cohort study that questioned a group of women during their last trimester of pregnancy (weeks 29 and over).

The researchers asked whether the women “habitually” snored (snoring three to four nights per week or nearly every night), and then followed up their birth outcomes. It found that self-reported “habitual” snoring, in particular snoring before and during pregnancy, was associated with increased likelihood of having a baby small for gestational age. There was also increased likelihood of caesarean delivery.

The researchers adjusted for a number of factors that could be responsible for any association seen, such as mother’s age. However, this study cannot show that snoring directly caused the poorer delivery outcomes, as there could be other confounding health or lifestyle factors that were not adjusted for.

The researchers speculate that snoring leads to increased levels of inflammation which could affect the placenta leading to low birth weight. But this hypothesis needs further investigation.

Overall, pregnant women who snore should not be overly concerned by this research that snoring is going to have a harmful effect on their baby. What is important though, is for pregnant women to be able to get adequate rest.

The researchers suggest, it may be useful for health professionals to ask about snoring symptoms, and if appropriate, recommend treatments.

Source: (2013)