Snoring During Pregnancy and Other High Blood Pressure Complications

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Many pregnant women take the term “sawing logs” while sleeping quite literally.

It’s difficult enough to get a good night’s rest when you are pregnant without waking yourself up snoring, but it’s a pretty common thing during pregnancy. I was prone to snoring during my first and, to a lesser extent, during my current pregnancy. My doctor told me part of the cause was the hormonal changes and an increase in blood volume, both of which can block the small upper airways in my nasal cavity.

I read a study recently that gave another explanation for snoring during pregnancy: elevated blood pressure. The study found that women who began snoring during pregnancy were twice as likely to have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure compared to women who didn’t snore. Although the researchers stopped short of saying there was a direct cause and effect between snoring and high blood pressure during pregnancy, they estimated that 19% of pregnancy-related high blood pressure cases (known in the medical community as “gestational hypertension”) could be helped by treating snoring.

[Researchers] estimated that 19% of pregnancy-related high blood pressure cases (known in the medical community as “gestational hypertension”) could be helped by treating snoring.

The association between snoring and high blood pressure isn’t all that surprising to me, as my super-high blood pressure during baby #1 very likely contributed to the noisy snoring that kept me and my husband up for nine months. As it turns out, high blood pressure can cause a variety of pregnancy complications, from the annoying (snoring) to the serious (preeclampsia). Here are details of some complications from high blood pressure during pregnancy.

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Snoring

As I mentioned, snoring is an exceptionally common occurrence, but many women don’t realize the changes of pregnancy are a contributing factor. Besides being an indicator of high blood pressure, snoring can also signal gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, or too much weight gain.

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Hypertension

Pregnancy blood pressure may be elevated at times, but when it is consistently high, doctors consider it gestational hypertension, which is similar to chronic hypertension, but dissipates after your baby is born. Hypertension can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood, leading to a lower birth weight for your baby. Some risk factors for developing gestational hypertension are being a first-time mom, carrying multiples, being younger than 20, or being older than 40. 

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Preeclampsia

When you have high blood pressure and high amounts of protein in your urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy, you may have preeclampsia—a dangerous condition that can affect your liver, kidneys, and brain, as well as cause poor blood flow to your uterus. This leads to poor growth, low amniotic fluid, and placental abruption (when your placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery). About 5% of pregnant women experience preeclampsia, which shows very few symptoms other than rapid swelling of your feet, hands, and face as well as high blood pressure. The only way to effectively treat preeclampsia is to deliver your baby, but the risk doesn't stop there as some women develop postpartum complications. If you're experiencing symptoms – either before or after delivery – be sure to speak with your doctor. Preeclampsia is generally diagnosed by testing the urine, so there actually is a good reason for peeing in a cup before every OB visit and even after delivery!

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Premature Birth

Although your blood pressure doesn’t necessarily cause you to go into labor prematurely, high blood pressure is known to contribute to preterm labor and premature birth. When your blood pressure is high, it can cause your placenta to ineffectively provide nutrients and oxygen to your baby, and that means a lower birth weight for your little one. If your blood pressure increases to 140/90, your doctor will most likely diagnose you with hypertension.  

Have you experienced snoring and high blood pressure during your pregnancy? How did you keep your blood pressure under control?

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Snoring During Pregnancy and Other High Blood Pressure Complications

Amanda is a social media manager for a health care organization by day, a blogger and freelance writer by night, and a celebrity news junkie all the time! She's also mom to an amazing 2 year-old boy and wife to a great guy who indulges all her celebrity gossip (and sometimes tries to scoop her!) Amanda loves coffee, fashion, nail polish, cats, and Tim Gunn (not always in that order.) For more celebrity gossip, fashion, beauty and DIY, visit Amanda's blog, It's Blogworthy. ... More

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