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Snoring During Pregnancy – What Helps?

By Current News 16,468 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

Obviously partners prefer that any woman not snore, but does it affect pregnancy?

According to a large study from Ann Arbor, Mi, entitled, “Snoring during pregnancy and delivery outcome,” snoring can have a major effect on both mother and child.

  • Snoring increases risk of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in pregnancy.
  • Snoring increased the incidence of smaller babies and had a higher risk of elective and emergency surgery.

Snoring or Sleep Apnea

There is an important difference between simple snoring and sleep apnea. In simple snoring, there are no periods where the air passage is blocked, so that no air gets into the body. If the snoring sound wakes up the whole family, but the woman continues to get air into and out of the lungs, then we don’t have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea means actual cessation of air getting to the lungs; doctors measure the periods of time when the patient is not breathing and air isn’t getting to the brain.

If the woman snored before pregnancy and continued during pregnancy, the risks were higher than if she hadn’t snored previously.

Smaller Babies

Because of the serious possibility of a smaller baby with the snoring, it is important to recognize the problem and prevent these complications. One solution is the use of CPAP.

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.  Here, a type of mask is applied, and a device delivers air at a pressure to overcome the airway blockage. This works well to overcome sleep apnea. However, not all patients can tolerate the device.

Clear Snoring Before Pregnancy

If someone has significant snoring and is planning to become pregnant, it would be ideal to get evaluated before pregnancy. At Tower E.N.T. we often see persons who snore, and the solution may be as simple as a ten cent tape to lift the nasal tip and open the airway, or a 50 cent tennis ball sewed to the back of a T shirt to encourage sleeping on the side!

At Tower E.N.T. we have experience on determining if an exercise of saying “A,E, I, O, U,” while your tongue is touching your hard palate is all you may need.

Or, your solution may be as simple as blowing up balloons!

Because Dr. Martin Hopp and the other Tower E.N.T. doctors have taught snoring subjects to other doctors, the patient can be confident that the simplest solution will be presented.

Snoring Complications

When there is interruption of flow of air to the body, significant complications can occur. These include:

  • Lack of REM sleep
  • Fatigue next day
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Hypertension
  • Overweight

Avoid Weight Gain

Because of the fatigue, persons overeat in order to get their work done. Eating excess adds more weight and fat to the soft palate and the throat tissues and makes snoring worse. Keeping proper weight during pregnancy is always a problem: if snoring is present this makes keeping proper weight much more difficult because of the fatigue factor. This is why serious snoring should be treated early to prevent unnecessary weight gain.

The Heavy Soft Palate Blocks Breathing

Snoring due to fatty soft palate can be helped by sleeping on the side. This position puts the soft palate forward to open the air passage.  If nasal congestion or postnasal drip is present, this can be helped by pulse-wave saline irrigation that restores nasal cilia function. For flabby throat tissue, the same device, The Hydo Pulse™ Nasal/Sinus Irrigator contains a throat irrigator that is used to reduce enlarged tonsil and throat tissue to improve airway.  Other aids to snoring include sleeping on the side, or head elevated, blowing trumpet or hard balloon, and lifting the nasal tip to open the nasal valve.

Because you overeat when you snore, clearing this problem may be the key to helping weight control during pregnancy.

The study of snoring in pregnancy is detailed in journal, Sleep, “Snoring during pregnancy and delivery outcomes”. Vol .36,No.11, 2013 by Louise O’Brien

Questions? Feel free to contact Dr Martin Hopp and other members of Tower E.N.T. at 310 657 7704

Treating the whole person

By Current News 73,964 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

The doctors at Tower E.N.T. believe in treating the whole person. This is because a patient is more than a sinus or an ear.

Just as it is important to look into the nose, it is also important to know a person’s whole history and understand what their symptoms are.  For example, Mr. S. V.  complained of ringing in his ears. As part of our Whole Person approach, we routinely take the patient’s blood pressure. His was excessively high; he was seen by his internist and when the blood pressure was normalized, his ringing in the ear cleared.

Often we see patients who have failed therapy.  For example Mrs. F. T.  complained of unsteadiness when walking. She hadn’t benefited by taking several medications for dizziness. But her history showed that she had had a mild case of polio as a child. When we asked her to walk down the hall, it was evident that one leg was weaker than the other. When she was referred to physical therapy, the symptoms were treated properly.

Children are people too! When the right questions are asked, often the solution pops out. Little Jimmy’s allergy was not responding to therapy. Jimmy was allergic to dust. Turns out his grandmother had given him one of the family’s old stuffed bear to sleep with, which gave off dust.

We also measure the blood oxygen on our patients. Mr. B. K. complained that he wasn’t getting enough air through his nose, and felt weak. But his blood oxygen level was too low and he needed therapy for his lungs, not for his nose.

Is the pain due to a sinus infection or migraine? It is vital to diagnose correctly. Just as important as the thorough examination is the history. If the pain comes once a week, preceded by visual changes it probably is migraine. If the pain is steady, helped by aspirin it is not migraine.

By carefully examining the sinus, the difference between sinus and migraine can readily be established. More important, migraine medications can be quite severe.

But migraine can also be missed. Quite often we see a patient who sustained a head trauma and complains of neck pain. Mr. C. F. had an industrial accident and continued to have neck and head pain despite physical therapy and pain medications. He came to Tower in hopes of stopping his pain pills. Turns out he had developed true migraine following his trauma; with migraine medication he was soon able to return to work.

We’ll continue next week in another post. Enjoy the rest of your week.