Snoring has been shown to be a significant risk factor in pregnancy, resulting in an increase in the need for a cesarean section and low birth weight. A study recently published in the University Of Michigan Health System confirmed this troubling correlation by studying 1,673 pregnant women, 35 percent of whom reported regular snoring.

Regular snorers are more than two times more likely to have an elective cesarean section and two-thirds more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby.

It is estimated that it is quite common for women who have never snored before to start snoring for the first time in their third trimester.

Babies born by C-section have been shown to be at increased risk for obesity, allergies, and eczema during childhood and later in life. This is because babies who are not delivered through the birth canal do not get the benefit of healthy bacteria from the mother.

Low birth weight carries with it its own risks. Mothers-to-be who snore risk depriving their little ones of essential nutrition due to inflammation of the blood vessels. Studies have shown that low birth weight babies have an increased susceptibility to infection, respiratory distress syndrome, an excess in red blood cells, and low blood sugar.

For mothers-to-be who snore, there are risks for you as well. Research has shown that snorers are more likely to develop heart disease than those who rest without sawing logs. Increased risk of stroke, heartbeat irregularities, GERD, mental health problems, and chronic headache can also be caused by snoring.

None of these conditions make it easy to raise a child.

The risks of snoring make it important for pregnant women to discover the cause of their snoring and get it under control as best as possible.

Common Causes of Snoring

The most common causes of snoring include:

  • Obesity

Obesity is a common contributor to snoring as extra weight means extra tissue in your neck and throat. This extra tissue collapses in on itself during sleep, blocking your airway.

  • Sinus Congestion

Allergies and chronic sinus problems cause sinus congestion and can cause snoring. Furthermore, pregnancy results in higher levels of estrogen, which may cause mucous membranes and blood vessels to swell.

  • Fluid Retention

Fluid retention is a common occurrence in pregnancy and can result in sudden bouts of heavy snoring.

  • Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common cause of snoring during pregnancy. There are two different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and central. In obstructive sleep apnea, neck fat or a soft palate abnormality physically block your breathing. In central sleep apnea, your brain does not send the correct signals to your lungs, resulting in intermittent breathing.

  • Certain Medications

Medications for allergies or to induce sleep may cause you to snore. These types of medications should be used with caution during pregnancy and only under the advice of your physician.

snoring is very common in pregnant womenSafe Ways to Reduce Snoring During Pregnancy

Since it is not advisable to use most prescription or over-the-counter drugs during pregnancy, it’s important to find natural, drug-free solutions.

  •  Sleep on Your Side

Obstructive sleep apnea and obesity-related snoring can often be remedied by sleeping on your side. Prop pillows up behind you to prevent rolling over in the night and snoring.

  • Use a Mouth Guard

A mouth guard can help open your airways for free, unrestricted breathing while you sleep.  These are also known as Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) and work by pushing the lower jaw forward to reduce the snoring.

  • Try a CPAP Machine

If obstructive or central sleep apnea is causing your snoring, it’s vital you use a CPAP machine to ensure your growing child receives enough oxygen. Talk with your doctor about a sleep study.

  • Do Mouth Exercises

Palate abnormalities can be alleviated by strengthening the muscles in your mouth with these exercises:

  • Tongue Slide

Place the tip of your tongue on the back of your upper teeth. Move your tongue backward toward your uvula, then back to your upper teeth. Repeat for one minute.

  • Jaw Slide

Open your mouth slightly and gently slide your jaw as far to the right as is comfortable. Hold it for 30 seconds. Move your jaw back to center. Then, move your jaw as far to the right as it comfortable. Hold it for 30 seconds. Stop.

  • Lip Purse and Close

Open your mouth as far as is comfortable. Fully close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat. Do this for one minute.

Decreasing your snoring during pregnancy can help eliminate the need for C-section and ensure your little one is born at a healthy weight.

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