Why Do Pregnant Women Snore?                   

Why Do Pregnant Women Snore?

The number of pregnant women who snore is fairly high; roughly one-third of pregnant women snore. A common cause of the sleeping symphony is weight gain, which results in excess tissue around the head and neck.

A pregnant woman’s nose swells as a result of the surge in pregnancy hormones, which can also lead to snoring. It is common to see a great deal of nasal congestion during pregnancy, which may result in breathing difficulties.

Is Snoring Related to Diabetes?

Snoring during pregnancy is more of an inconvenience than anything else. Snoring can, however, be a sign of more serious health concerns like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

RELATED: Keto and Pregnancy: Is Ketosis Safe During Pregnancy?

Can Sleep Apnea Harm an Unborn Baby?

Sleep Apnea is when you stop breathing for a brief period of time during the night. This is a serious concern since both mother and baby have their oxygen levels drop quite frequently. During the night, when mom’s oxygen levels dip intermittently, it also reduces oxygen levels. In light of the fact that this may affect the fetus’ blood flow, this can be extremely concerning.

Does Snoring Affect Pregnancy?

Snoring is a warning sign for pregnant women, especially when it is accompanied by headaches, swollen legs, and severe daytime sleepiness. During your pregnancy check-up visits, be sure to talk to your doctor about how you are sleeping; let them know if you are still tired after sleeping well at night, or if you occasionally snore.

Is it Normal to Snore Loudly During Pregnancy?

Snoring is not normal during pregnancy, but it is more common than you may think. Approximately 75% of pregnant women report sleep disturbances, which is normal for pregnant women. On the other hand, obstructive sleep apneas are less common. OSA is a condition that strikes during pregnancy and causes you to stop and start breathing repeatedly while you sleep.

Can You Have a Healthy Pregnancy with Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea robs your body of oxygen, which can be serious for you and your child. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which the airways collapse during sleep, temporarily blocking airflow and causing breathing to pause or become shallow. Apneas, or temporary pauses in breathing, can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Your level of sleep apnea is determined by the number of times you stop breathing during the night.

Waking Up Gasping for Air While Pregnant

Because pregnant women have higher levels of estrogen, which can cause the mucus membrane to swell, thus, causing nasal congestion, they have a much higher risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When you work harder to breathe, the lining of the airway can swell, which restricts airflow. These chains of events often lead to sleep apnea. About 8% of women develop this condition during pregnancy.

Who Has the Greatest Risk of Having Sleep Apnea?

Why Do Pregnant Women Snore?

Being overweight, obese, or gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts you at risk for OSA. Having extra tissue in your neck can restrict your airway at night and make it difficult to breathe. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women who have gestational diabetes. In addition, your airway may collapse during sleep if you have the following;

A neck circumference greater than average

An enlarged adenoid

A large tongue

Having a receding chin

Having a deviated septum

While your baby grows in your womb, the lungs in the respiratory system are cramped, resulting in increased pressure and snoring while sleeping. The decreased oxygen supply to the fetus increases the risk of pregnancy complications and neonatal mortality. This might result in intrauterine growth restriction or other behavioral disorders in infants.

Pregnant women should;

Maintain a regular sleep schedule and wake time each day

Sleep for at least 7-9 hours every night

After 1 PM, limit caffeine consumption

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

Limit or avoid screen time before bed

For most parents, laying on your side with your knees bent is the most comfortable sleeping position. You can purchase a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep comfortably at night. By sleeping on your side, the heart can transport blood from the legs and feet back to the heart more easily.

Pregnancy Causing Sleep Disorders

An expectant woman who has no difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and does not have insomnia, furthermore, if she does not suffer from restless leg syndrome. Nonetheless, if she is still feeling tired in the morning, something else might be going on. If someone gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, it is uncommon for them to need a nap during the day unless they have a sleep disorder.

Why are Pregnant Women more Prone to have Anemia?

Multiple pregnancies and anemia make pregnant women more at risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia since the blood volume doubles for dilutional anemia, and the placenta and the fetus absorb the iron.

Things That Cause The Upper Airway to Collapse

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea, because the airway is narrow, as velocity increases inside it, the venturi effect happens which simply means you have less force to open up the airway.
  2. The Bernoulli principle means as velocity is increasing in the narrowed area of destruction the walls are sucked in by the force created in the airway.

The first thing doctors look for when a pregnant woman begins snoring loudly

Doctors want to rule out obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if a pregnant woman begins snoring loudly at night. It means that the airflow was obstructed by more than 90% in the case of Obstructive Apnea. In obstructive apnea, the area around the neck and the back of the mouth, where the tonsils are, are affected.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Pregnancy

A pregnancy linked to OSA should be regarded as high risk. A pregnant woman complained of feeling extremely fatigued despite being able to sleep throughout the night. It is important to assess how much and what kind of sleep the pregnant woman gets. Her frequent waking up at night indicates that she is not getting enough sleep and that her sleep quality is poor. People with sleeping disorders often wake up frequently in the middle of the night.

How Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

Sleep studies are often used to diagnose OSA. Nowadays, polysomnography, which means an inpatient sleep study, is less often used since doctors realized that patients had difficulty sleeping in hospitals, and home studies are more convenient as well as more affordable.

Why Does Sleep Apnea Get Worse During Pregnancy?

Why Do Pregnant Women Snore?
Why do pregnant women snore?

During pregnancy, nasal patency is reduced

As a result, sputum and thick mucus clog the nasal airway and force mouth breathing. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone could be to blame for this.

Pharyngeal airways narrow

Pregnancy causes the airways to become increasingly congested

Mother’s Blood Volume

During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood volume

Lying down at night might result in an increase in fluid volume in the upper airway, causing the airway to collapse.

Risks of Untreated OSA in a fetus

  • Birth weight below normal
  • A small fetus for its gestational age
  • Risk of C-section delivery

Treatment for OSA

  • Not sleeping in a supine position
  • Avoid alcohol-based sedatives
  • Changing your lifestyle
  • Losing weight

Can You Use a CPAP While Pregnant?

Avoid sleeping on your back while pregnant to avoid compressing the Inferior Vena Cava (IVC). People suffering from sleep apnea are frequently prescribed CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP uses a pneumatic splint to open your airway. Masks come in a variety of styles. You should be prescribed a CPAP to help you sleep better at night.

  • There is also an auto-titrating CPAP machine that works well for pregnant women because it adjusts to your changing weight during and after the pregnancy. Because an auto pap can often reduce CPAP pressure requirements, it is commonly used.
  • CPAP reduces morbidity and secondary health risks to the hospital that is associated with untreated OSA.
  • Opioids can suppress the respiratory system and exacerbate nocturnal hypoxemia.
  • When you go into labor, bring your CPAP machine with you to the hospital.
  • In patients with untreated OSA, the risk of complications from general anesthesia is increased.

Can You Get Rid of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

After your baby is born, you should repeat the sleep study to determine the severity of your OSA and your continued CPAP needs. A reevaluation is absolutely necessary at some point.

Unfortunately, snoring and congestion tend to get worse as pregnancy progresses. The good news is that, if you started snoring for the first time in pregnancy, you’ll probably stop again after your baby’s born.

Final Thought

The underdiagnosis of sleep apnea is common when a pregnant woman complains of daytime fatigue or poor sleep during the night. Often clinicians and patients themselves mistake these symptoms for pregnancy-induced symptoms, leading to the underdiagnosis of sleep apnea. During the third trimester, sleep patterns are most likely to undergo significant changes including increased nocturnal urination, heartburn, back pain, and nasal congestion.

Preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are two of the main outcomes of untreated OSA during pregnancy. You should be screened for diabetes early in pregnancy if you have OSA. You should be screened again at 24 to 28 weeks if your initial screening is negative.

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