Snoring While Pregnant Could Harm Baby 26553

When you're pregnant, you're pretty much worrying every waking moment wondering, Are you eating the right foods? Getting enough rest? Working out as many times as you should? Will you be a good mom? The list of internal questions goes on and on. Well now apparently there's a reason to be worried when you're sleeping too!

According to research from the University of Michigan, published in the journal Sleep, moms-to-be who snored three or more nights a week "had a higher risk of Cesarean sections and babies with lower birth weights. Moms who snored before and during pregnancy are two thirds more likely to have a baby born below the tenth percentile for babies the same gestational age (that means they're smaller than 90 percent of other babies in that group). They are also more than twice as likely to need an elective C-section, researchers found."

The study included 1,673 pregnant women who were recruited from prenatal clinics by the university between 2007 and 2010, with 35 percent of the women reporting they regularly snored.

Snoring is a key sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing problem that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and cause serious heart conditions. This study's findings follow another just a year earlier that found that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at high risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

Dr Louise O'Brien, from the University of Michigan's Sleep Disorders Center, and one of the lead researchers of the study says the findings are so important because: "If we can identify risk factors during pregnancy that can be treated, such as obstructive sleep apnea, we can reduce the incidence of small babies, C-sections and possibly NICU admission that not only improve long term health benefits for newborns but also help keep costs down."

The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which involves wearing a machine during sleep to keep the airways open. So if you are diagnosed early on in your pregnancy and are treated, you lower the risks of a C-section for you or low birth weight for your baby.

TELL US: Have you developed a snoring habit while pregnant? 

Image of sleeping pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.