About one-quarter of all pregnant women will snore during their third trimester of pregnancy even if they haven’t snored before, according to reports.
And while it’s almost unheard of not to have any sleep issues as one’s delivery date comes closer, snoring is more than just uncomfortable. As a woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy, so does her need for more oxygen, something snoring can interrupt.
Proper sleep positioning during pregnancy is for more than back, leg and neck comfort. It’s vital that you reduce the possibility of snoring as much as possible during this time. Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t sleep on your back, most experts advise. In fact, this is the common wisdom for any snorer, pregnant or not, male or female, and at any age.
Sleeping on your back can align your neck unnaturally, keep your shoulders somewhat hunched upward, and can make weight on your front push down on your lungs and throat. When your muscles relax during sleep, this effect will be even more pronounced, and restriction can occur.
Avoid Stomach Sleeping
Believe it or not, it’s hard to harm your baby and your pregnancy by putting pressure on your stomach; your little one is well protected by layers of fluid, muscle, the bones of the pelvis, and a fatty layer. But like sleeping your back, sleeping on your stomach can misalign your neck and put pressure in odd places.
You’ll likely get to the point where you can’t comfortably sleep on your tummy anyway, but get started early on revamping your sleep habits so you’re not forced to adjust during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Sleep on Your Side – With Modifications
As you’ve probably guessed at this point, side sleeping is the position commonly recommended by obstetricians and sleep specialists. Side sleeping is a great position for snoring in general, but is also ideal for anyone carrying extra weight around the middle which can push up into the chest.
Be careful of your alignment. Pregnancy pulls on your spine and hips in new ways and jarring or tendinitis can occur. Make sure you have a good, supportive pillow that keeps your neck, shoulders and head aligned. This positioning will allow the most unrestricted airflow during sleep. You may also wish to purchase a pregnancy pillow or any long, rectangular or oval, supportive pillow to put one leg over during rest so your thighs are slightly spread, as your pelvis will broaden just slightly due to relaxed ligaments.
If You’re Still Snoring
Snoring can happen during pregnancy no matter how carefully you position yourself. So if you’re still experiencing problems with snoring:
- Turn down the thermostat at bedtime. Keep it at 68-70F maximum and layer yourself with blankets so you can remove one or two should you begin to feel too warm. A hot room can contribute to sleep issues.
- Make sure you’ve had adequate hydration during the day. Although you may want to keep away from fluids immediately before bedtime (you’re probably getting up at night as it is), maintain a consistent fluid intake during the morning, afternoon and early evening. Dehydration can cause swelling of the airway and make snoring worse.
- Try not to deprive yourself of sleep and then nap during the day. As wonderful as a nap may feel, if you’re consistent with mid-day sleeping you may throw off your night sleep, making it disorganized and uncomfortable.
- If you have allergies, see your doctor. Many medications should not be taken during pregnancy, but your doctor may be able to advise you of certain changes, such as a humidifier or approved medicine protocol, which may help reduce your snoring.
- DO NOT hesitate to see your doctor if you EVER wake up choking, coughing or feeling as if you’ve stopped breathing, even if only for a few seconds. You may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or another issue. This could mean a simple fix, such as a temporary CPAP machine.