Weighted blankets have become an increasingly popular item, touted for their ability to reduce stress and improve sleep. With so many people using weighted blankets, it’s natural to wonder if they are safe to use during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at the research and see what we can learn.
Are you pregnant and wondering if it’s safe to use a weighted blanket? These therapeutic blankets have become all the rage, promising stress relief and more restful sleep, and some even boast helping with an irregular sleep pattern and improving blood circulation (especially important in a pregnant woman).
But with so many people using them, is there any risk factors for moms-to-be? Let’s explore what science says about their safety while expecting!
Does pregnancy affect sleep?
Yes, it certainly can. Pregnancy is a time of intense physical and emotional changes, which can affect sleep in many ways.
In addition to the frequent trips to the restroom and discomfort from a growing baby bump, hormonal shifts and anxiety over being a new parent can all make it difficult for expectant mothers to get enough restful sleep.
What is a weighted blanket and why use a weighted blanket?
Filled with tiny beads or pellets that provide extra weight, these heavy comforters produce gentle pressure on your body which some find quite soothing.
This extra weight helps to calm the nervous system and reduce stress levels in adults as well as kids. By providing a gentle, comforting pressure similar to a hug or cuddle, weighted blankets help promote relaxation of muscles and joints, which can improve sleep quality.
Plus they can help ground you better — making sleeping through the night easier than ever before…but could this be too good to be true during pregnancy? We’ll see what we can find out!
What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are said to offer the following benefits:
- Improved quality of sleep and sleep duration, which can decrease restlessness throughout the night
- Increased serotonin levels which can calm the nervous system
- Pain relief, as the weight of the blanket releases pressure slowly on joints, muscles, and tendons
- Improved sensory integration for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other
- Reduced stress and anxiety by providing a gentle pressure similar to a hug or cuddle.
- Improved muscle relaxation, which can help reduce tension in the body.
- Enhanced sensory integration, which can provide calming input to those with autism or ADHD.
- Reduced motion in bed through increased body awareness
- Reduced cortisol levels, reducing hyperactivity and restlessness
Is It Safe To Use A Weighted Blanket While Pregnant?
According to research, there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend weighted blankets for pregnant women. More studies need to be done in order to determine if there are any risks associated with using them during pregnancy.
However, due to the potential risks associated with deep pressure therapy (which is what a weighted blanket provides), it’s best to avoid using one while pregnant until more research has been done on its safety for expecting mothers.
That being said, you can still get some of the benefits of weighted blankets without actually using one by simply snuggling up in a few extra layers of warm clothing or wrapping yourself in a regular heavy blanket.
This way you can get some of the comforting effects of additional weight without putting yourself at risk by using a weighted blanket while pregnant.
Can a weighted blanket provide relief from restless leg syndrome?
Weighted blankets have been found to be effective for providing relief from conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and even depression. Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be beneficial in relieving restless leg syndrome.
However, more research needs to be done in this area before weighted blankets can be deemed an effective treatment option. For now, if you discuss this with your doctor and they deem that it is safe to use, then you may find relief from restless legs syndrome.
Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular due to their potential benefits, but unfortunately there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend them for use during pregnancy.
Until more studies have been done on their safety for expecting mothers, it’s best not to use one while pregnant unless you get the clearance from your doctor.
Things to look for in a weighted blanket
If your doctor gives you the ok to use a blanket, there are a few things to consider and these include the size, weight and material. Make sure you get one that is large enough to cover your body and has a filling that won’t leak or flatten out over time.
The blanket should be evenly distributed throughout, with no lumps or bumps. Additionally, make sure it’s made of fabric that’s breathable (especially important for hot sleepers) and free of any chemicals or irritants. Last but not least, look for a blanket that comes with a cover to protect it from dirt and wear.
What’s the best weighted blanket?
The best weighted blanket for you will depend on your individual needs, as well as the size, weight, and fill material. If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety, a heavier blanket may be beneficial with the extra pressure.
People who are prone to overheating at night should opt for one with a breathable outer fabric or one made with natural fibers, like a soft cotton tyoe of material.
There are different weight options to choose from and generally, doctors who give the okay for pregnant women to use a blanket, suggest using a lighter blanket. They’ll still get the calming effect and sense of security that others will get from a heavier blanket.
Blanket size guide to help you find the perfect weighted blanket
Check with your doctor to see if these sizes are safe for you while pregnant. And don’t forget sleeping on the left side is always recommended and is usually a comfortable position to sleep while pregnant.
Twin: 12-pound blanket
Full/Queen: 15-pound blanket
King: 20-pound blanket
Glass Beads: Most common fill as they are smooth and don’t clump up over time. The downside is that they can be loud if they move around or when someone moves the blanket.
Plastic Poly Pellets: Plastic pellets are a virtually silent fill option that won’t clump up or shift around over time, making them a great choice for couples.
Cotton/Wool Batting: A natural and breathable fill that retains heat well but is prone to clumping up and shifting around.
Organic Materials: Natural materials like bamboo batting and buckwheat hulls are great for people who want to avoid chemical treatments. However, they can be expensive and may not retain heat as well as other fill options. This may also be a good option if you have a hot body temperature while sleeping since it is a little lighter and doesn’t trap a woman’s body heat as much.
• Always use a weighted blanket of appropriate size (See Blanket Size Guide above).
• Do not leave a child unattended while using a weighted blanket.
• Use only on a flat, smooth surface. Do not use the blanket over the bed or bedding as it can create an unsafe sleep environment. Check with doctors if it’s safe to use a pregnancy pillow and the added weight from the blanket together.
• Take caution when washing and drying your weighted blanket to ensure proper care and maintenance. Follow all manufacturer instructions for cleaning and drying.
• Be aware that weighted blankets are prone to clumping up and shifting around so make certain to check the blanket periodically for any signs of wear or damage.
• If you notice any signs of excessive wear or damage, discontinue use and contact the manufacturer for a replacement.