Pregnant women are given an abundance of advice from family members and strangers alike on things they should do before their little bundle of joy arrives, ranging from “go to the movies” and “eat at non kid-friendly restaurants while you still can” to “catch up on sleep now.”

Hardly anyone I know ever listens because, well, you’ve got things to wash, furniture to assemble, bags to unpack and pack–plus, sleeping isn’t all that comfortable, especially in those later months. And yet, being well rested and getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference in those first few weeks as a new parent.

The 2020 Mom Project, a campaign to increase awareness and treatment of maternal mental health disorders, reports that 80 percent of women will experience the "baby blues" after giving birth while 20 percent of women will experience clinical depression. Although the former goes away within a few weeks, clinical depression can lead to serious health issues and requires the help of a medical professional.

Every new mother expects to have her sleep patterns disturbed once she gives birth. So when she can catch a wink or two, it’s important that she gets some good, solid sleep to support health and healing.

For our industry that means designs of birthing suite and maternity wards that go beyond soothing color palettes, lighting controls, and home-like amenities to features that support undisturbed or "protected" sleep. Those ideas may include physical changes to room layouts, materials and surfaces that limit sound transmission, and in-room sound machines, to name just a few.

What other design ideas can you add that will get a big “thank you” from sleep-deprived moms everywhere?