​Pregnancy’s Effects on Sleep—And How We Can Help

Posted by Roger Sramek on

Every year there are nearly four million births in the U.S., as reported by the CDC.

Along with the excitement of the arrival of a new baby come new challenges, notably the expectant mother’s sleep and wellness.

Sleep is critical to both mother and baby, and affects both in unexpected ways. For example, if the mother gets less than five hours of sleep per night during the final week of pregnancy, the chance of a Cesarean grows to 50 percent from the typical U.S. rate of 4.5 percent.

For the health of mother and baby, most doctors recommend* that during the third trimester, mothers sleep exclusively on their left side. The reason behind this is that the inferior vena cava, which acts as the return blood supply from the legs, is on the right side of the groin. Sleeping on one’s back or right side presses the weight of the belly and torso against the vena cava and reduces the blood supply, affecting both mother and baby.

Sleeping only on one side? Easier said than done.

Sleeping only on one side on a typical mattress can lead to pressure buildup and alignment difficulties.

Consider that the average weight of the infant and surrounding tissues is between 15 and 30 pounds. The extension of the mother’s belly forward of the pelvis and spinal column produces both torque and shear, particularly on the lumbar region at L5, L4. This often leads to sciatica during pregnancy and chronic back pain afterward.

Many doctors would recommend pain pills but don’t have solutions when it comes to sleep products.

For example, the typical mattress from leading brands:

  • Build up pressure on shoulders and hips, leading to increased tossing and turning.
  • Offer one uniform surface, translating to no support for the belly and increased pressure on the bladder
  • Often trap heat, causing the mother discomfort and restlessness

To address these challenges, my own daughter tried a Level Sleep TriSupport Topper during her pregnancy. She reported that unlike her prior pregnancy she often slept the night through and had fewer bathroom trips.

How could a mattress topper make such a difference?

  • TriSupport Toppers and Mattresses offer soft shoulder and hip zones that reduce pressure on these parts of the body, significantly reducing the body’s signaling the need to move
  • Their lumbar zone provides support to the belly, helping keep its mass from pulling the body out of alignment
  • Our top-grade, non-toxic foam and latex top layer allows excellent airflow and breathability to dramatically cut down on heat buildup
  • The mattresses and toppers work together with the Restore Pillow to provide a sleep system capable of keeping the mother comfortable on her side by offering multiple height adjustments and breathable ear wells.

* Please consult your obstetrician or doctor for their guidance.