I’m six months pregnant, and my husband told me this morning that I was snoring in my sleep! I’m mortified– I’ve never snored before in my life and it’s pretty embarrassing. Is this normal? Should I worry? Is there anything I can do about it?”
Snoring during pregnancy is not at all uncommon: about one-third of pregnant women snore, and about 1/2 of women start snore for the first time during pregnancy. During pregnancy your body makes more of everything, including saliva and mucous. Isn’t that delightful? You also retain more fluids, not just in your ankles but in your mucous membranes. The weight of that extra fluid can squeeze your throat, making snoring more likely (and drooling is pretty common too).
So should you worry? Chronic snoring– meaning twice a week or more– is potentially a real issue, and if you’re husband reports that you’re snoring more than every so often then you should definitely mention this to your health care provider. Chronic snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which has been linked to pregnancy complications, high blood pressure in late pregnancy and lower birth weight. But if your snoring was only once or twice, that’s likely not a cause for concern. If you feel congested at night, here are a few things to try:
- Changing your sleeping position. At six months you’re pretty much stuck sleeping on your side, but you might find that a firmer pillow or elevating your upper body helps.
- Taking a warm shower before bed and/or lubricating your nasal passages with saline spray to clear out any blockages.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids can help thin mucous prevent nasal blockage. Two or three cups of decaf green tea has also been shown to reduce sinus congestion. Just try to get your fluids in an hour or more before bed, to reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom.
- Dust your bedroom, replace your pillow, wash your sheets, banish your pet from the bed. Dust and animal hair in your sleeping environment can cause congestion or make it worse. If you don’t feel congested during the day but do at night, a dusty bedroom environment may be to blame.