Snoring in pregnancy – why it happens and how to stop

It's bad enough when your other half is snoring his head off when you're trying to sleep - but when you're pregnant and you yourself start snuffling and snorting like a warthog at a truffles convention, it's time for action!

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You’re in bed, you’re finally comfortable – no mean feat during pregnancy – and then when you actually drift off and settle in for a good night’s sleep, your usually loving and supportive partner suddenly shakes you awake and likens your peaceful slumber to sounding like a freight train going through a tunnel. Uh-oh – you’re snoring. Again!

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Snoring is a common night-time problem in pregnancy, with mums-to-be three times more likely to start snoring by the final trimester. But thankfully, for many of us it’s only a temporary habit and there are ways to reduce the noise and keep the plaster on your walls!

MrsKH72
 chatting on our forum says, “I’ve suffered from a stuffy nose the minute I got pregnant – it’s so annoying! My hubby snores his head off though, so I look on it as divine retribution!”

What’s making me snore?


According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association, 23% of women snore during pregnancy. So while you may sound like a bear, you can take some comfort knowing that you’re not the only one with a noisy night-time habit.

There are 2 main factors behind snoring in pregnancy:

  • Hormones 
  • Weight gain

Changes in hormone levels dilate blood vessels and cause mucous membranes to swell in your nose. This causes congestion and a narrowing of your nasal passages forcing you to breathe through your mouth as you sleep, and, more often than not, snore.

Now at least he knows how I feel!

Keen MFM forum member Tamarabell says, “Lol, my OH informed me last night that on Monday night I was snoring really loud all night and that he had to keep trying to move me as I was rolling onto my back throughout the night!

“I don’t normally snore, but my response was well at least now you know how I feel when you are doing it and I can’t get you to stop!!!! he he he thought it was really funny! Tammi xxx”

“Also as you gain weight in pregnancy, your lungs have less space and also a build-up of fat in the neck tissues narrow your airways can cause more throat breathing – in other words, snoring,” says Professor Advisor of Education for the Royal College of Midwives, Michelle Lyne.

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Could I be allergic to something?


It’s possible, so just to rule it out, reduce any potential allergens like dust or pet hair from your bedroom and try burning the essential oil, myrtle, in your room during the day. It also has sedative effects so will help you sleep too, hopefully!

Bride-carly-barley reckons her nocturnal snuffling and snorting is all because of her pregnancy, now and says, “I used to only snore when I was drunk, but since about 20 weeks I’ve been snoring every night! And I always seem to have a blocked up or runny nose.”

Will this snoring stop when I have the baby?


“Yes, almost certainly,” says Michelle. “If snoring began during pregnancy, then it will almost definitely stop soon after you’ve had the baby”. Your hormones settle down and you lose the excess weight and fluid you’ve been carrying for 9 months – which are the main causes for starting to snore when you’re expecting.

Remedies to stop the snoring

In the meantime, the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association recommend using a product to help improve nasal breathing such as Rhynil, a herbal spray for nose and mouth. Sleeping on your side, or with a slightly raised head will also help to keep airways open as you sleep.

SuzMcH1 says,“I read that being too hot at night might make it worse so I’ve started sleeping with the window open and that seems to have made a bit of a difference. I’m going to get some new pillows and a lighter duvet this weekend.” 


And Samjh suggests treating yourself well – and looking after yourself as though you have a bad cold: “I put Olbas oil on a tissue in my pillow to help clear my nose. And Vicks Vaporub balm is good, too.” 


Does snoring mean I’m more likely to have a C-section?

Sounds like a bizarre question – but believe it or not, there is a tiny bit of truth in this. New research has found that snorers are more likely to have low birthweight babies and/or a Caesarean section.

According to US scientists, chronic snoring may be a sign of breathing problems that could possibly affect your oxygen supply to the baby. However, chronic snoring refers to women who snore regularly and badly both before they get pregnant and during their pregnancy.

The study showed that a chronic snorer may be up to two thirds more likely to have a low birthweight baby, and twice as likely to need a C-section. But snorers needn’t panic!

Chronic snoring can often be treated,” says lead researcher, Dr Louise O’Brien, from the University of Michigan’s Sleep Disorders Centre. So rest assured, fellow snorers – sounding like Pumbaa the warthog is simply just another part of the glamorous journey to motherhood!

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