Pregnancy is a special time in life, and special times call for special sleep. Sleep matters to everyone, but particularly for pregnant women, research shows that is vital to their health. Pregnant women are more prone to sleep disorders, plus they are much more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances. From sleep apnea and resting leg syndrome to waking up to use the bathroom every few hours or back pain, there is a myriad of reasons that sleep quality can be lacking. But, by choosing to invest in the best mattress you can, sleep quality can be dramatically improved.
What is the best mattress for pregnancy, you may wonder? Keep reading this article to find out!
1 Why Pregnancy Needs Special Attention to Sleep?
Growing a new human is hard work, and doing so brings with it more need for sleep. However, each trimester of pregnancy brings with it new common symptoms that can make sleeping difficult.
The first trimester is marked by rising progesterone while your body supports the pregnancy hormonally before the placenta does. Common first trimester symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive sleepiness
- Tender breasts
- Night sweats
By the second trimester, the placenta takes on its role of supporting the pregnancy and as such, your hormonal levels tend to level out. You start to feel better, but may suffer from:
- More frequent urination
- Excessive heartburn
The third trimester is, by far, the hardest for pregnant women's sleep. That baby bump you love so much really starts to strain the lower back and take up more space within your abdomen, creating a compression effect on many of your organs, creating symptoms like:
- Even more frequent urination
- Restless leg syndrome
- Back pain
If you're familiar with these symptoms, you know how hard it can be to get that rest you so desperately crave, and if you don't know better, there is a good chance that your mattress can actually exacerbate them.
2 Buying Guide for Mattresses for Pregnant Woman
Choosing the right mattress can be tough when your body changes constantly during this time, and if you have a partner you share your bed with, you have to also ensure it is comfortable for them as well. How do you choose something that's right for your changing body that will also work in the coming years as well?
While shopping, there are a few easy factors you can consider to help yourself find the right one.
· Body Weight Support
As your bump grows, you carry weight in the midsection, which strains the lower back. Support helps your spine's alignment, which should remove soothe the aches you may have. Your mattress should be even and flat and without sagging or indentation to create the full-body support that you need.
Mattresses that contour to your body shape create a customized feel that is perfect for any body type. This will help to soothe those pressure points that might otherwise ache. In particular memory foam is renowned for this, but it can a bit less breathable than other options, such as latex.
· Durability and Thickness
Especially toward the end of pregnancy, getting out of bed can be a struggle thanks to the shifting center of gravity and imbalance created by that growing bump. Lower beds force you to push yourself up to stand, while you can slide off of higher mattresses. However, the thickness of the mattress does not necessarily indicate durability, which is dependent upon materials.
· Edge Support
A bed with supported edges makes getting in and out of bed easier, which becomes essential for pregnant women as their bodies continue to change. By reinforcing the perimeter, a mattress can prevent sagging and sinking on the edges, where you will be getting off and on the bed. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses tend to provide this.
As your body changes, you'll likely see a shift in your firmness preferences, which may make choosing a mattress that is comfortable throughout the pregnancy and beyond harder. You may be able to get a flippable mattress with different firmnesses. Or, you could use a mattress topper. Another option is an adjustable bed, especially if your preferences dramatically vary from your partner's.
· Motion Isolation
For couples, the constant need to urinate can interrupt both parties. The pregnant woman will need to get up regularly and may unintentionally wake her partner if the bed doesn't isolate movement. Motion isolation prevents this. Typically, higher firmness, coils, and innerspring interiors tend to have less motion transfer.
During pregnancy, you're likely to shift around in your sleep to get comfortable. Noisy mattresses can make it harder to sleep during that shifting and may annoy you when partner shifts around. Innerspring mattresses tend to be the noisiest, while memory foam and latex are silent.
Justifying a new mattress during pregnancy may be tough. You will need to weigh whether the price is worth it for your comfort. A mattress is a long-term investment and lasts at least 6 or 7 years. Many times, payment plans are available to ease the burden.
Mattresses of all kinds must comply with safety regulations, but if you want to be especially conscientious, look for mattresses with CertiPUR certification, which shows that there are no harmful chemicals included in the mattress.
· Sleeping Position
Sleeping position matters when choosing out your mattress. Side sleepers typically need softer beds and back and stomach sleepers require firmer beds. Because in pregnancy, your needs and sleeping positions change often, you may want a medium-firm mattress, which will keep the spine aligned regardless of position.
· Temperature Regulation
Pregnancy causes body temperature to rise, and this leads to women feeling hot while sleeping. Using breathable materials helps regulate temperature. Memory foam usually retains heat while latex and hybrid mattresses allow for breathability.
3 What Type of Mattress is Best for Pregnant Women?
Choosing the right mattress for you depends upon your own preferences. Choosing depends upon your weight, sleeping positions, and more. Mattresses are typically found in four common types: Innerspring, hybrid, latex, and foam.
Innerspring mattresses tend to be bouncy and resist sagging around the edges, making them a popular choice.
- Reinforced perimeter and edge support
- Breathable to reduce heat being trapped
- More motion transfer
- Thinner layers that don't conform as much, creating less relief on pressure points
- Less supportive and more prone to sagging
Hybrid mattresses usually combine foam or latex with an innerspring core. They have thick comfort layers for pressure relief plus the airflow and support from the coils.
- Thicker comfort layers for contouring to the body
- Reinforced perimeters and edge support
- Air circulation to prevent overheating
- Heavy and tough to adjust alone if you are pregnant
- More expensive
- May off-gas when first set up
Latex mattresses are either made of synthetic or natural latex or blend the two together. It contours to the body supporting it while also regulating airflow.
- Contours well, creating pressure point relief and spinal alignment
- Facilitates movement due to buoyancy
- Lacks perimeter reinforcement
- Lacks edge support
- May have an odor
Foam mattresses combine polyfoam and memory foam. They contour well and are great for preventing movement transfer. However, they tend to be a bit warm.
- Conform well to alleviate back pain
- Isolate motion
- Cushions pressure points well
- Retain heat and restrict airflow
- May off-gas and bother pregnant women due to smell
4 Additional Sleep Accessories for Pregnancy
While the mattress is important, there are other items that can make a dramatic difference in how pregnant women sleep as well. There are two primary accessories that can create a comfortable sleep experience: Pillows and toppers.
Pregnancy pillows create the support a pregnant woman would need. These pillows allow for propping the head up to reduce snoring and heartburn, while also aligning the spine and supporting the legs, hips, and bump. Because left side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy, a supportive pillow can help prevent rolling onto the back as well.
· Mattress toppers
For women who may not want to purchase a new mattress for their pregnancy, using a mattress topper is a great way to customize it on a budget. These attach to the bed with a sheet or straps and change the feel of the mattress. However, if your mattress is sagging or broken, this will not fix the problem.
5 Sleep Help and Tips for Pregnant Women
As you go through pregnancy, you will notice that your body constantly changes. As a result, you find your sleep needs constantly changing as well. However, if you know which trimester you are in, there are ways that you can alleviate many of the common problems.
5.1 First Trimester Sleep Tips
The first trimester consists of weeks 1-12 and during this time, your body changes dramatically due to hormonal fluctuations. Consider these tips to alleviate common sleep problems:
- Take a 30-minute nap to help beat excessive sleepiness.
- Exercise in the mornings.
- Limit fluid in the evenings before bed to lessen nighttime urination.
- Salty snacks, such as pretzels and nuts can alleviate morning sickness, which, contrary to the name, can happen at any time, including when you are trying to sleep.
5.2 Second Trimester Sleep Tips
The second trimester lasts from weeks 13 through 26. At this point, hormonal symptoms lessen. Morning sickness slows, but heartburn becomes more common. These tips can help alleviate common issues:
- Sit or stand after eating to cut heartburn.
- Avoid spicy foods to cut down on heartburn.
- Stretch your legs before sleeping to avoid cramping at night.
- If leg cramps wake you at night, flex the feet and legs slightly until they subside.
- Monitor blood pressure and swelling. Preeclampsia is usually indicated by rising blood pressure.
5.3 Third Trimester Sleep Tips
The third trimester lasts from week 27 until birth, and at this stage, the pregnant woman is typically the most uncomfortable. To help alleviate those aches and pains, try the following:
- Sleep on the left side to prevent pressure from the stomach onto the back and to prevent issues with circulation and air intake.
- Use extra pillows to support your body, under the head, between the knees, under your stomach, and at your back.
- Lower fluid intake at night to slow down nighttime wakings.
- Be mindful of iron intake, unless anemic, to help lessen leg cramps and restless leg syndrome.
5.4 Postpartum Sleep Tips
Though no longer pregnant, the first three months after childbirth is referred to as the "fourth trimester" due to the changes to the body and increasing demands you will face. You need quality sleep to both offset the constant wakings to feed your baby, but also to heal your body from childbirth. To help with your sleep, consider the following:
- Sleep with your baby near your bed at night for at least the first year after birth to reduce the risk of SIDS and help lessen nighttime disruptions.
- Breastfeed if you can. Breastfeeding creates prolactin, which also aids in encouraging sleep.
- Share nighttime duties. Babies are needy during those first few months, and by having shifts where each parent shares some of the responsibility, both parents will get better sleep.
- Look out for postpartum depression symptoms, which could detract from sleep. Symptoms include depression, mood instability, struggling to concentrate, and lacking appetite.
6 Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Offgassing Dangerous During Pregnancy?
If you bought a mattress that came in a box, it may have a detectable odor when you opened it up. This smell usually lasts between a few hours and a few days. This odor comes from the process that allows the mattress to be vacuum-sealed and compressed in a box. It is believed to be harmless. However, it may be annoying to sensitive pregnant noses.
- Is Memory Foam Safe During Pregnancy?
Memory foam may have been concerning in the past, but today, many third-party organizations deem it safe for use, even during pregnancy. Of course, you can always check out the website for the manufacturer to ensure that it is.