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Weighted Blanket and Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you might be wondering if it’s safe to use a weighted blanket.
After all, pregnancy is a time when you need to be extra careful about what you put on your body and in your environment.
Here’s the thing: There is no definitive answer when it comes to using weighted blankets during pregnancy. Some experts say they are perfectly fine, while others caution against their use.
If you do decide to use a weighted blanket, there are a few things to keep in mind.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and potential risks of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy:
Is it safe to use a weighted blanket during pregnancy?
Yes, most women can safely use a weighted blanket while pregnant. Although a 20-pound blanket may seem like a lot of pressure to put on your bump, the uterus is a powerful organ that acts as a shield against external pressures, while the amniotic fluid and weight you gain throughout pregnancy act as shock absorbers.
The weight of the blanket is evenly distributed across the entire body, so there’s no massive amount of weight that will be on any one area of your body. Use the Corala Weighted Blanket Calculator to calculate the best weight for you.
However, if you have underlying health conditions or specific concerns, it’s best to consult your doctor before using a weighted blanket.
Benefits of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy
The benefits of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy include improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, relaxation of muscles, eased aches and pains, and the release of serotonin which promotes relaxation and improved sleep quality.
Deep touch pressure activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body, assisting with settling down for sleep and relieving chronic pain.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket instead of sleeping pills or chinese herbal sleep remedies means that no unwanted drowsiness or adverse side effects will occur, while the deep pressure stimulation can help to reduce the severity of any discomforts and pains that may interfere with sleep.
1. A weighted blanket can help relieve stress and anxiety
A weighted blanket can help relieve stress and anxiety during pregnancy by providing deep pressure stimulation, which can have similar effects to acupressure. This stimulation releases serotonin and dopamine, which are known to relax the nervous system and promote a feeling of calmness and happiness.
The pressure from the weights helps to reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, allowing the pregnant woman to settle down and clear her mind of worries at bedtime.
2. A weighted blanket can help improve sleep quality
Using a weighted blanket during pregnancy can help improve sleep quality by providing a comforting, snug feeling that can help reduce stress and anxiety, stimulate the production of melatonin, and release serotonin, which is known to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Studies have shown that people who use weighted blankets experience less disturbances at night, fall asleep faster, and have a better quality of sleep overall. It is important however to know how to use a weighted blanket correctly.
This is especially important during pregnancy, as anxiety and depression during pregnancy can be risk factors of adverse obstetric, fetal, and neonatal outcomes.
3. A weighted blanket can help reduce pain caused by pregnancy
Weighted blankets can increase the levels of mood-boosting hormones like dopamine and serotonin and decrease the levels of cortisol, which is important for regulating pain.
A weighted blanket can provide extra support and comfort to the body parts that are subject to added pressure from the growing baby, such as the back, belly, and thighs.
A weighted blanket can also help reduce swelling of the feet, a common problem associated with pregnancy.
4. A weighted blanket can be used as a comfort object
Weighted blankets can be used as a comfort object during pregnancy as they provide the added weight to help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as relax the pregnant woman’s muscles and ease aches and pains.
5. Improves metabolic functioning
The weighted blanket improves metabolic functioning by increasing energy levels and activity level, helps to streamline blood circulation which clears metabolic waste. This waste can often lead to cravings, but being able to regulate hormones a weighted blanket can help to reduce hunger cravings and make it easier to manage or lower weight.
By reducing cortisol levels and providing better quality sleep, the weighted blanket can help to regulate insulin levels, which can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and can help to reduce body fat storage.
6. Lower Heart Rate
Using a weighted blanket during pregnancy can help to reduce the heart rate. Studies have shown that the additional weight and sensory input provided by the blanket can help to ground expecting mothers and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Lower cortisol levels help to reduce anxiety, promoting relaxation and a calmer state of mind. This, in turn, helps to reduce the heart rate and improve overall cardiovascular health.
7. Improves Restless Legs Syndrome
8. A weighted blanket can be used to increase oxytocin production
Oxytocin is a hormone released during physical and emotional contact that helps to create feelings of connection and trust. During pregnancy, oxytocin levels are known to increase, providing mothers with a sense of security.
Unfortunately, this hormone may not be released at the levels needed for a peaceful and healthy pregnancy. Fortunately, using a weighted blanket can increase oxytocin production, providing pregnant women with the emotional and physical comfort they need.
The pressure provided by the weighted blanket helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. This relaxation encourages the brain to release oxytocin, which can help with stress, anxiety, and even pain relief.
Additionally, the hug-like sensation of the weighted blanket creates a sense of security and safety, which further contributes to the increase in oxytocin production. Self-hugging is a well known method which allows us to increase self-love, and it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Ultimately, the use of a weighted blanket can lead to more oxytocin and serotonin production, allowing pregnant women to feel more relaxed and secure.
What are the risks of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy?
While there are many potential benefits, there are some risks that should be considered. For instance, the pressure of the blanket may be too intense for some women, resulting in discomfort and pain. Additionally, the weight of the blanket may impede circulation if not distributed evenly, which can be dangerous for the baby. Furthermore, allergies to synthetic materials and odors can be a concern.
However, overall, using a weighted blanket during pregnancy is generally safe and can be a great and natural alternative to sleep medications that may be unsafe for the baby.
1. Unreliable Research Results
A more detailed review of research into the use of weighted blankets during pregnancy is necessary in order to assess the reliability of the current results.
In particular, it would be beneficial to review the methods used in the studies, the sample size and the results that were reported.
It would also be important to consider any potential bias and/or confounding variables that may have influenced the results.
Without this additional information, it is impossible to accurately assess the reliability of research results for using a weighted blanket during pregnancy.
2. No Clear Evidence of Safety
The risks of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy include the risk of overheating and suffocation, increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), choking risk if the weighted beads escape from the blanket’s pockets, and lack of evidence that weighted blankets improve sleep or anxiety.
There are no double blinded placebo controlled study evidences showing that weighted blankets are effective in improving sleep or reducing anxiety during pregnancy.
Therefore, parents should carefully assess the risks of using a weighted blanket during pregnancy and consider whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
3. Increased Risk of Miscarriage
The increased use of weighted blankets during pregnancy has sparked a debate amongst medical professionals as to their safety. While the blankets may provide relief from certain pregnancy discomforts such as nausea, anxiety and sleeplessness, they have also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.
This is due to the fact that the extra weight of a weighted blanket can put extra stress on the uterus, which could lead to complications during delivery or even an early miscarriage.
Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to consult their health care provider before using a weighted blanket and to follow their advice on its use.
The extra thickness of the blanket can cause increased body temperature, which poses a risk of overheating both the mother and the baby. It can also cause difficulty in breathing due to the additional pressure on the chest and abdomen which can restrict the flow of oxygen to the baby.
5. Decreased Oxygen Levels
One of the main risks associated with using a weighted blanket during pregnancy is decreased oxygen levels. This can occur when the blanket is too heavy and puts too much pressure on the abdomen, restricting the mother’s ability to take in oxygen.
This can be especially dangerous for the baby, as decreased oxygen levels can lead to a decrease in the baby’s oxygen supply. This can result in decreased growth, as well as an increased risk of preterm labor.
Finally, decreased oxygen levels can also lead to an increased risk of complications during delivery.
It is important to choose one that is light enough to ensure the mother is able to take in enough oxygen while still providing the therapeutic pressure.
6. Weight Gain and Swelling (Toxemia, Preeclampsia)
Weight gain and swelling is a common and expected part of pregnancy, and a weighted blanket can add additional weight on top of the natural weight gain. This can put extra pressure on the body, which can cause discomfort and worsen existing swelling. Increasing the pressure on the feet which may cause pain from the blanket.
7. May cause pain
Additionally, the extra weight of the blanket can cause further discomfort in an already uncomfortable situation, such as aches and pains in the back, joint, hips, and legs.
How does a weighted blanket help with relaxation during pregnancy?
A weighted blanket can help with relaxation during pregnancy by providing deep touch pressure which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body, aiding in the production of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) which in turn controls the secretion of cortisol (the stress hormone) and helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Additionally, the pressure provided by the weights helps release serotonin which is known to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, as well as providing comfort due to its snug feeling.
Lastly, the weight of the blanket works at a therapeutic level to reduce many of the discomforts and side-effects that pregnancy can bring, such as aches and pains.
How much weight should a weighted blanket have during pregnancy?
How much weight should a weighted blanket have during pregnancy? The ideal weight for a pregnancy-safe weighted blanket is around ten percent of your total body weight.
As the weight is evenly distributed, you do not need to worry about having too much of the total weight centered on your tummy.
How often should you use a weighted blanket during pregnancy?
It is recommended to not use a weighted blanket for more than 6-8 hours a night during pregnancy. If you find the blanket uncomfortable, stop using it.
Some women may find that the heat generated from a weighted blanket can make them feel overheated during pregnancy, so it’s important to choose a lightweight option or opt for a cooling material such as bamboo or cotton.
Does using a weighted blanket during pregnancy help with hormone changes?
Yes, using a weighted blanket during pregnancy can help with hormone changes. Deep pressure therapy, which is provided by a weighted blanket, is known to stimulate the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, while decreasing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. This can help to regulate mood swings and reduce anxiety levels.
Can you sleep with a weighted blanket while pregnant?
Yes, you can sleep with a weighted blanket while pregnant. Weighted blankets are safe to use during pregnancy in general. However, it is important to ensure that the blanket is not too heavy and that you are not allergic to any of the materials used in the blanket.
What are the benefits of sleeping on the floor during pregnancy?
There are a number of benefits to sleeping on the floor during pregnancy. Some of these benefits include improved overall health, perfect posture, prevention of back pain, and refreshed feeling. Sleeping on the floor can also be helpful in reducing stress levels.
Weighted blanket in the third trimester?
Women like to use a weighted blanket during the third trimester due to the fact that sleep disturbances are particularly common during this time. According to studies, almost half of pregnant women experience poor sleep quality during the third trimester.
In conclusion, poor sleep and short sleep duration are common and poorly recognized sleep disturbances that frequently occur among pregnant women at different time points during their pregnancy…
… Since poor sleep has been associated with poor maternal, fetal, and neonatal health outcomes, understanding these patterns is crucial …
… we identified a pattern of progressive deterioration in sleep quality as pregnancy advanced.
Al-Musharaf S. Changes in Sleep Patterns during Pregnancy and Predictive Factors: A Longitudinal Study in Saudi Women. Nutrients. 2022 Jun 25;14(13):2633. doi: 10.3390/nu14132633. PMID: 35807814; PMCID: PMC9268456.
A weighted blanket can be used to help cope with sleep disturbances via reducing stress and anxiety, relaxing muscles, and easing aches and pains.
However, pregnant women should opt for cooling weighted blankets to prevent any overheating during the night. It is also important to note that weighted blankets are not safe for toddlers and infants, as they may be too small to escape it and become suffocated.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your healthcare provider to decide what’s best for you. If you do decide to use a weighted blanket, make sure the weighted blanket is not too heavy.
There are also many deep pressure calming activities that adults can do to help relax their muscles and joints.
Read more about the best sleeping position right after IUI.