Pregnancy has countless physical side effects that accompany it, and many women aren't aware of most of them until they experience them firsthand. One of these unexpected side effects is that about 30% of women begin snoring during the second and especially third trimester. This may come as a surprise to women who have no prior history of snoring or sleep apnea, and it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep at a time when getting a good night's rest is crucial. You may wonder why it is that pregnancy would cause someone to suddenly start snoring, so we've put together a few of the top reasons.
- Hormonal changes. During pregnancy, women experience drastic fluctuations in their hormone levels. Most notably, estrogen levels are much higher, which often causes swelling of the nasal passages and mucous membranes.
- Increased blood flow and nasal congestion. The amount of blood in a woman's body increases by 50% during pregnancy, and this often leads to swollen nasal membranes and blood vessels.
- Weight gain. The rapid weight gain that many women experience is often a main reason why snoring begins. It is thought that weight gain causes thicker tissue in the neck and the throat, narrowing the airways and making you more likely to snore.
If you are pregnant and suddenly experiencing snoring or sleep apnea, there are a few ways you can help to lessen its effects on the quality of your sleep.
- Sleep on your side instead of your back. As your pregnancy progresses, this will naturally become the most comfortable position to sleep in anyway, so it's good to start getting used to sleeping this way sooner rather than later.
- Prop yourself up with a pillow. Elevating yourself slightly can help to ease snoring symptoms and, again, as you progress into your third trimester, you will get used to rearranging several pillows to help you sleep more comfortably and relieve pressure on your back and hips.
- Try to avoid excessive weight gain. While pregnancy is no time to begin restricting calories or food intake, it's also wise to stick to a healthy diet that will cause only a moderate amount of weight gain to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Excessive weight gain that comes on rapidly will make breathing more difficult and greatly exacerbate the likelihood of snoring during sleep.
Gary Johnson DDS - Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers expert care in snoring and sleep apnea solutions to help you get the restful sleep your body deserves. Dr. Johnson will provide you with a one-on-one consultation that will help you find the best solution for your individual needs and get you started on the road to relief and a peaceful night's sleep. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.