Pregnancy brings many changes in your body. Besides your growing belly, you may notice issues like heart palpitations and even snoring while you sleep.

In fact, around half of pregnant people end up snoring on a frequent basis during pregnancy, according to the American Thoracic Society.

Is snoring a sign that something is wrong? Here are some things that may be causing your snoring, some tips for how to stop it, and when you might want to talk with your doctor.

Snoring is caused by the sound of soft tissue in your throat. It happens if your throat is narrowed. Environmental factors may cause it.

You snored before pregnancy

You may have snored before getting pregnant. You may notice it more now if you’re not sleeping as well as before, or if you’re just more attuned to your body during pregnancy.

Your hormones are surging

The hormones estrogen and progesterone increase to support your growing baby during pregnancy. Along with that comes the potential for airway pressure changes, sleep apnea, and snoring.

The increased hormone levels can also make your nose stuffy (from swollen tissues) or cause pregnancy rhinitis.

You’ve gained weight

For most pregnancies, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends you gain 25 to 35 pounds.

Whether you’re in this range or not, weight gain (particularly in the third trimester) may put pressure on the muscles that keep your airway open at night, leading to obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

Environmental factors

You may be sensitive to dry air and snoring if you have already had an illness.

Experts recommend keeping the air in your bedroom “neither too dry nor too humid” by using a humidifier.

Smoking or exposure to smoke is a possible cause of snoring and other sleep-disordered breathing during pregnancy.

Other sleep habits are at play

Side-sleeping is the go-to recommendation among doctors for the best sleep position during pregnancy. One reason? Sleeping on your back may lead to snoring.

Not getting enough quality sleep may also have a link and leave you feeling groggy during the day.

You may be predisposed

African American women have an increased risk of sleep-disordered breathing than women of other races and ethnicities, says the American Thoracic Society.

In one 2019 study on insomnia, sleep, and snoring, researchers discovered that women who self-identify as Black tended to report more sleep issues.

Income level may affect snoring and sleep quality.

The answer to this question is a solid maybe.

Increased weight or hormonal changes can cause snoring in some people. It may mean something more for others.

Some research has shown some associations between snoring and adverse pregnancy outcomes, like:

If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?

Not every person who snores has or will develop sleep apnea. That said, snoring can be a sign of this condition if it accompanies other symptoms, such as:

  • gasping for air
  • The mouth is dry.
  • It is frequent waking.
  • pauses in breathing

If you notice these symptoms in addition to snoring most nights, ask your doctor about getting a sleep study.

Is snoring during pregnancy a sign of preeclampsia?

High blood pressure during pregnancy is referred to as preeclampsia. Studies have linked snoring as a possible association (greater than two-fold) with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia generally develops sometime after week 20. Other symptoms include:

Is snoring a sign of Gestational diabetes can occur.?

Between 2 and 10 percent of pregnant people may develop Gestational diabetes can occur. (GD), reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Studies do link sleep issues during pregnancy with GD. In particular, researchers say specifically that snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and low quality sleep put women at higher risk of developing GD.

You may not have other symptoms of GD, but your doctor will test your body’s response to glucose somewhere between 24 and 28 weeks.

Is snoring associated with perinatal depression?

Researchers in a 2021 study have also uncovered that snoring during pregnancy may be a risk factor for perinatal depression. This type of depression occurs during pregnancy rather than after pregnancy (which is called postpartum depression).

Participants in the study were asked to fill out questionnaires about their moods, habits, and snoring. 34% of participants reported snoring at least three times a week.

The women who were not snorers had an increased chance of reporting symptoms of depression.

You may snore during your pregnancies because of your baseline. The snoring will depend on:

  • How do your hormones affect you?
  • How much weight do you gain?
  • You may develop other factors.

If snoring does get worse, you may particularly notice it toward the end of the second trimester and in the third trimester.

And some research suggests that women who snore before pregnancy may develop obstructive sleep apnea due to hormonal changes or along with conditions like GD and preeclampsia.

If you have questions about how snoring may affect you and your baby, talk to your doctor.

There are some things you can do to stop snoring.

It is a good idea to let your doctor know about the snoring as it may be a sign of another condition that needs treatment or monitoring.

“If you haven’t already, try this to see if it helps your snoring.”

  • Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back may make snoring worse. Plus, sleeping on your back may not be comfortable as your belly gets bigger. You can buy pregnancy pillows to help your body stay on your side.
  • Prop yourself up. Elevate your head a bit with pillows for support. Doing so will help clear your airway.
  • Use a humidifier. Warm mist or cool mist: Either works well to add moisture to the air so it’s less irritating.
  • Use nose strips. You can find nasal dilator strips over the counter that attach to your nose. They may help your nose airway open wider and lessen snoring. While you’re at it, using a saline nose spray to clear mucus may also help.
  • Eat well. Excess weight can lead to snoring. ACOG recommends adding just 340 calories to your day in the second trimester and 450 calories in the third trimester for optimal weight management. But speak with your doctor about what weight gain is best for your situation; everyone will have different needs (for example, if you’re carrying multiples).
  • Steer clear of smoke. Even secondhand smoke may irritate your airways and lead to snoring.

Sleep hygiene is particularly important during pregnancy. With all the aches, pains, and tendencies toward insomnia, you may feel like you’re not getting your best rest.

Here are some tips to sleep better.

  • Try to get to bed at the same time each night. It may be possible to set a standard wake time.
  • A calm before sleep is what you should create a routine for. Take a warm bath and read a book.
  • Set the stage for sleeping by keeping your room dark, cool, and relatively quiet (unless you like white or pink noise for sleep).
  • Avoid napping too close to bedtime. Consider making a 3 p.m. cutoff, for example.
  • Keep active by getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Activities like walking or swimming get your heart rate up without taxing your body.
  • Skip the late-night snacks. Eating too close to bedtime may lead to heartburn and acid reflux as your belly grows.
  • “If you want to get a good night’s sleep, skip the coffee in the afternoon and evening.”
  • Save your bedroom and bed. It can be hard for your brain to calm itself when you are doing other things in bed.

Overall, aim for between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep each night. You may need more sleep, particularly if you are waking up frequently overnight.

You may not realize you snore until your partner says something. Maybe you woke up with the added noise.

Take note of your snoring and talk to your doctor about it. It may be another annoying issue for pregnant women.

There are some cases when snoring may signal a medical condition.