Sleeping can be difficult during pregnancy for a number of reasons. Not only is your belly enormous, but the hormonal changes your body is going through can also affect your sleep cycles. The physiological changes that your body goes through also make it more likely that you’ll snore consistently. Even if you’ve never snored before your pregnancy, you and your partner might be heavily disturbed by the loud snoring that will likely come on during gestation.
There are a few theories regarding why women might snore heavily for the first time during pregnancy. One theory is that hormonal changes cause nasal passages to swell, making it more difficult for air to pass through during sleep. Another theory suggests that pregnant women snore because of the higher blood volume in the body. This change in volume might also obstruct the nasal passages and cause snoring. While the cause of snoring is not definite, a recent study showed that women who snored had an increased likelihood of delivering fetal-growth-restricted babies.
While the study showed that women who snored heavily during their pregnancy were at a higher risk for delivering babies with growth restrictions, it did not outline why this occurred. However, a good nights’ sleep is an important part of any pregnancy, as it gives the body time to recover after the difficult changes it goes through every day. Snoring has been shown to significantly interfere with sleep patterns, so the growth restriction might be caused by the body’s inability to recover every night due to heavy snoring.
To avoid snoring heavily during your pregnancy, you should first try sleeping on your side instead of your back to keep your airways open. Additionally, don’t gain any more than the recommended amount of weight during your pregnancy. Overweight people tend to snore more, so adding extra pounds will likely exacerbate the problem.
Snoring during your pregnancy is an extremely common problem, but it has also been associated with negative birth outcomes. If you find that you are snoring heavily during your pregnancy, speak with your health care provider about ways to stop it and ways to get a better nights’ sleep. As any parent will tell you, sleep as much as you can during your pregnancy. From the moment you deliver your baby, a whole night of sleep without interruption will only be a distant memory.
Source: Katerine Micheli et al: Sleep Patterns in Late Pregnancy and Risk of Preterm Birth and Fetal Growth Restriction. Epidemiology Volume 22 Issue 5 pp. 738-744 September 2011