Can a Pregnant Woman Sleep on an Air Mattress? The Pros, Cons, and Guidelines

Sleeping comfortably during pregnancy can be a challenge with a growing belly and aching joints. Many pregnant women find themselves looking for alternative sleeping solutions like air mattresses to help get better rest. But is it safe for a pregnant woman to sleep on an air mattress?

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about pregnant women sleeping on air mattresses. We’ll explore the pros and cons, provide usage guidelines from experts, and give tips to pick the right air mattress and optimize your sleep setup during pregnancy.

Key Takeaways on Sleeping on an Air Mattress While Pregnant

  • Air mattresses can provide more comfort and support than a sagging mattress, especially in the third trimester. The adjustability helps take pressure off hips and back.
  • Consider the materials carefully – some air beds contain harmful phthalates and VOCs to avoid in pregnancy. Choose one made with safe, non-toxic components.
  • Proper inflation is key for support. Under-inflation can create pressure points and discomfort. Over-inflation feels too firm and can cause alignment issues.
  • Use a mattress topper or pad for extra cushioning and keep the air mattress off cold floors. This helps temperature regulation.
  • Don’t rely solely on air mattresses long-term. Use a traditional mattress with medical grade support when possible. Air beds work better for temporary situations.
  • Discuss sleeping setups with your healthcare provider, especially if you have high-risk factors like preeclampsia. There are a few cautions to keep in mind.

The Potential Benefits of an Air Mattress for a Pregnant Woman

The right air mattress can actually provide several advantages over a traditional mattress during pregnancy:

1. More Comfort for the Changing Body

One of the biggest perks of an air mattress for expectant mothers is the ability to adjust firmness and support. The progressive weight gain and shifting body shape during pregnancy can make it difficult to stay comfortable in bed. An air mattress allows customization of the sleeping surface to accommodate:

  • The growing belly – More airflow and space relieves pressure points on the abdomen. Raised firmness helps support the bump.
  • Expanding hips – Alleviates soreness and pain in the pelvis and hip region by cushioning contact points.
  • Heavier breasts – Takes pressure off the chest by gently conforming around enlarged breasts.
  • Fluid retention – Air displaces fluid retention in the legs and feet better than foam or springs.
  • Back pain – Provides spinal alignment and adaptable lumbar support as the back arcs more to compensate for the pregnant belly.

2. Cooler Sleep

The lightweight PVC or thermoplastic urethane construction of most air mattresses allows more airflow than heat-trapping foam and springs. This increased breathability and ventilation can help prevent overheating at night during pregnancy.

Sleeping hot is a common complaint, as pregnant women tend to feel warmer. Air mattresses made by Intex and SoundAsleep are especially good at dissipating body heat.

3. Portability

Air mattresses are designed for easy transportation and storage. This makes them convenient for creating a comfortable sleep space while traveling during pregnancy or setting up a temporary bed at home.

Inflatable air beds are great for overnight trips to visit family or pregnancy getaways to relax before baby comes. They provide an alternative to questionable hotel beds.

4. Affordability

Quality air mattresses often cost significantly less than traditional mattress sets. Brands like Intex offer queen-sized air beds under $100, whereas a standard spring mattress starts around $300 and memory foam around $600.

The lower price point makes air mattresses reasonable for temporary use during pregnancy. Since they may not provide the same longevity and support as a regular mattress, you can save money on a short-term solution.

5. Ease of Movement

Air mattresses are easier to get in and out of than spring or foam mattresses. The increased give makes moving around simpler as mobility decreases later in pregnancy.

There is less feeling of being “stuck” in an air mattress. The lightweight construction also allows pregnant women to change positions frequently to stay comfortable.

Potential Drawbacks of Sleeping on an Air Mattress During Pregnancy

However, air mattresses do come with some downsides to consider before using one as your nightly sleep surface during pregnancy:

1. Insufficient Back Support

While airbeds provide more flexibility, they may not offer adequate lumbar support and healthy spine alignment compared to firmer mattresses. This could exacerbate pregnancy-related back pain.

The lack of reinforcement also allows some air mattresses to sag in the middle after a few uses. This can create an uncomfortable “hammock” effect during pregnancy that places strain on the back and belly.

2. Higher Risk of Deflation

Air mattresses can develop small leaks over time and lose air pressure overnight. This causes sagging that can misalign the neck and spine. The change in support while sleeping can also create discomfort.

Waking up on a deflated air mattress is much more likely than a traditional mattress suddenly becoming uneven. Make sure to have backup bedding available in case this occurs.

3. Cold Air Loss Through the Night

Body heat warms the air inside an air mattress during sleep. This expands the air, allowing some to continually seep out unnoticed through small seams and perforations.

While the airflow helps keep pregnant women cool initially, the reduced air volume by morning can create a cold and under-inflated surface. Use insulation under the mattress to help retain warmth and density.

4. Pregnancy-Unfriendly Materials

Some air mattress brands use PVC, phthalates, and solvents to soften the vinyl and make it pliable. These petroleum-based compounds can release VOCs and be problematic during pregnancy.

See our air mattress materials section below for guidance on the safest components and non-toxic air bed options.

5. Instability and Fall Risk

Air mattresses sit higher off the ground than normal mattresses. The raised, undulating surface can make getting in and out of bed more difficult and increase chances of falling during pregnancy.

Deflation at night also creates an unstable surface. Place air mattresses on the floor and add guardrails to minimize tripping and balance issues while sleeping and exiting the bed.

Expert Medical Guidance on Air Mattress Use in Pregnancy

Most doctors agree that sleeping on an air mattress temporarily will not harm pregnant women or the baby if basic precautions are taken. Here are the key expert guidelines:

Focus on Supportive Comfort

An air mattress that feels overly soft or firm can lead to back and joint pain. Work with your healthcare provider to find the right level of comfort and support based on your sleep position and stage of pregnancy.

Watch Out for Skin Irritation

Cheaper vinyls can cause skin redness, rashes, and irritation where the air mattress touches your body. This may require adding a protective topper or switching to a higher quality mattress.

Maintain Proper Inflation

Sleeping on an under-inflated air mattress puts strain on the abdomen and hips. Over-inflation causes spine hyperextension. Find the sweet spot for your body.

Monitor for Real Mattress Need

While short stints on an air mattress are fine, pregnant women still require highly supportive sleep surfaces long-term. Switch to a doctor recommended mattress before the third trimester or if pain develops.

Use a Protective Cover

Encasing air mattresses in a hypoallergenic cover helps keep irritants away and prevents phthalate and VOC exposure from lower quality materials.

Avoid Co-Sleeping with Partners

Air mattresses provide less separation between sleepers. The moving surface can disrupt comfort and alignment. Sleep alone or upgrade to a thicker double height mattress.

Prevent Falls

Place air mattresses low to the ground and use bed rails or pool noodles to assist with balance getting in and out of bed. Watch for deflation or ripped surfaces.

Choosing the Best Air Mattress for Pregnant Women

All air mattresses are not made equal when it comes to pregnancy. Here are the top features to look for:

1. Adjustable Firmness Settings

Dual chamber construction that allows custom firmness for each sleeper makes it easier to find the right pregnancy support level and change it as you progress.

2. Raised Height

Taller air mattress profiles around 22 inches help pregnant women get in and out of bed while maintaining stability. Look for built-in pillow tops.

3. Non-Toxic Materials

Avoid phthalates and VOCs by selecting GREENGUARD Gold certified air mattresses made from puncture-resistant TPU instead of vinyls containing plasticizers.

4. Strong Reinforced Construction

Durable interwoven inner fibers provide better structural rigidity and prevent sagging to maintain healthy spine alignment during pregnancy.

5. Antibacterial Protection

Antimicrobial treatments inhibit odor-causing bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus in air mattress materials that could irritate pregnant women.

6. Responsive Air Pumps

A powerful pump with precise controls makes it easy to find optimal firmness quickly. Avoid air loss with systems that continuously monitor and adjust pressure.

7 Best Air Mattress Options for Pregnant Women

Based on the above criteria, these are the top-rated air mattresses recommended for expecting mothers:

1. Sleep Number Bedaire Mattress

  • Fully customizable firmness for each side accommodates changing support needs in pregnancy.
  • GREENGUARD Gold certification ensures low VOC emissions.
  • Dual air chambers prevent sagging and maintain alignment.

2. SoundAsleep Dream Series

  • Proprietary Eco-Friendly PVC is thick and durable yet cool sleeping.
  • Dual internal air pumps self-adjust air levels all night.
  • Reinforced design provides edge-to-edge support.

3. REI Kingdom Insulated Air Bed

  • Three layers of insulation keep surface warm and prevent air loss.
  • Bed bridges the gap between temporary air mattress and permanent mattress.
  • High density drop-stitch construction offers cushioning with stability.

4. Fox Air Beds Plush High Rise

  • Made in the USA with thicker non-toxic TPU materials.
  • Whisper-quiet pump rapidly inflates bed in under 4 minutes.
  • 35 circular coils add lumbar support that adapts to your body.

5. Lightspeed Outdoors 2-Person Air Bed

  • Phthalate-free PVC provides temperature regulating comfort.
  • Battery operated pump allows inflation anywhere.
  • Reinforced stabilizer bars distribute weight evenly.

6. Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam

  • Inexpensive option costing under $100.
  • Integrated pillow great for expectant mothers.
  • Fiber tech interior construction prevents sagging.

7. Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress

  • Customizable firmness zones in the head, back, and leg areas.
  • Never flat pump maintains consistent air pressure all night.
  • Perimeter security edge helps prevent falls.

Optimizing Your Sleep Setup with an Air Mattress During Pregnancy

Choosing the right air mattress model is an important first step. You’ll also want to optimize the full sleep setup for maximum comfort and support:

  • Use a mattress topper or pad for extra cushioning and minimize surface imperfections. Make sure it is thick and soft enough to conform to your body shape.
  • Keep the air mattress directly on the floor to reduce fall risk. Hard flooring helps reinforce the mattress unlike sagging box springs.
  • Maintain room temperatures between 60-67°F for comfort without getting overly warm at night.
  • Try using a body pillow to take pressure off your back and support consistent side sleeping.
  • Place a thin plywood board under the mattress if on a cold floor. An old rug or towels also work to insulate.
  • Never place heavy objects like dressers on top of an air mattress when inflated. The pressure can lead to tears.
  • Check the air level every few nights and top off as needed to prevent sagging and maintain comfort.

Are Air Mattresses Safe? What to Avoid During Pregnancy

Air mattresses get a lot of aspects right for expectant mothers like comfort, airflow, and adjustability. But there are a few precautions pregnant women should keep in mind:

Evaluate Support Needs With Your Doctor

While air mattresses provide nice temporary relief, your expanding body really needs a highly supportive doctors recommended mattress during pregnancy for proper spinal alignment and pain prevention.

Avoid cheaper air mattresses

Low-cost air mattresses more often contain phthalates and VOCs that can be harmful in pregnancy. Invest in a quality mattress made with safer materials if going the air bed route.

Watch Out for Noise

Some air pump systems can be loud and disruptive to sleep. Look for whisper-quiet inflation and adjustment technology or use ear plugs as needed.

Prevent Falls

Never place an air mattress too high off the ground and use guardrails and handles to help stabilize getting in and out of bed as your balance changes.

Be Wary of Allergens and Irritants

Cover air mattresses with hypoallergenic encasements to prevent skin irritation and reactions from lower quality materials. Open windows regularly to ventilate VOCs.

Air Mattress FAQs for Pregnant Women

Still have some questions about using an air mattress during pregnancy? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is it safe to sleep on an air mattress every night while pregnant?

Sleeping on an air mattress occasionally won’t cause harm, but using one daily long-term during pregnancy is not recommended. Air beds lack the same support and durability of a medical grade mattress designed to meet the needs of expectant mothers. Focus on getting a high quality pregnancy mattress.

When during pregnancy is it no longer safe to sleep on an air mattress?

As your body changes and expands, the requirements for support and healthy spinal alignment become greater. Most doctors recommend transitioning to a suitable permanent mattress before entering the third trimester when back and hip pain become most common.

Can an air mattress pop while I’m pregnant?

It’s extremely rare for an air mattress to spontaneously burst or explode, but cheaply made beds are more susceptible to developing small leaks or holes over time. Make sure to buy a durable, reinforced air mattress from a reputable brand. Avoid letting pets with claws onto the bed.

How can I make an air mattress more comfortable during pregnancy?

Use a plush mattress topper or pad to create a softer and more cushioned surface. Keep the mattress properly inflated to minimize pressure points but not overly firm. Use pillows strategically between your knees, under the belly or back to optimize support and comfort.

Is there an alternative to an air mattress that’s better for pregnancy?

Mattresses made from latex or memory foam provide more consistent support and comfort during pregnancy. Look for customizable firmness and cooling features. An adjustable base lets you elevate the head and feet to take pressure off the back and hips as your belly grows.

The Bottom Line – Are Air Mattresses a Smart Choice in Pregnancy?

Air mattresses can be a good temporary solution during pregnancy to provide added comfort and support if your regular mattress is causing pain. The right air bed allows customization to accommodate your changing body.

However, pregnant women should still aim to transition to a highly supportive doctor recommended mattress during the second or third trimester. Air mattresses work best for portable situations or short-term fixes. Focus on non-toxic materials and proper inflation to minimize risks.

Discuss your sleeping setup with your healthcare provider and take steps like using bed rails or a protective mattress cover to ensure safe, comfortable rest during this special time. With the proper precautions, an air mattress can be an affordable way to optimise sleep and relieve discomfort from pregnancy aches and pains.