As if women didn’t have enough to deal with while pregnant, numerous researchers are now suggesting that snoring and sleep apnoea might be an unwelcome consequence of the pregnancy. Apparently the change in oestrogen levels, particularly during the later stages of the pregnancy, results in greater relaxation of the neck muscles. This alone is enough to cause snoring or sleep apnoea – and the severity of the condition is normally exacerbated if the woman puts on weight during the pregnancy, because the the neck, throat and tongue will often be where some of the fat accumulates. Many people think snoring is a “normal” part of pregnancy – but this can only be assumed if the snoring is light, and occurs only in the last month of gestation. Snoring in the first or second trimester should be investigated immediately because it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apneoa (OSA). OSA is when the sufferer’s airway closes and stops them from breathing. In severe cases this can happen more than 30 times per hour throughout the night. Not surprisingly, the disrupted breathing results in poor quality sleep and frequent arousals … and, more seriously, reduced blood oxygen levels. This is potentially harmful for the mother and the baby. If excessive snoring occurs during pregnancy, a physician’s advice and diagnostic sleep study should be sought because the consequences of an untreated condition could be devastating.