With pregnancy comes many new challenges and being able to sleep comfortably is one of them. Ironically, your body needs extra sleep when pregnant, yet the pregnancy itself causes the insomnia. It’s common for pregnant women to suffer from insomnia for no particular reason, or from a sore, growing body, heartburn, or having to get up frequently to use the bathroom.
Quick Look at Our Top 7 Picks
But just because it’s hard to sleep while pregnant, doesn’t mean it’s not important to get rest—both mom and baby need extra sleep to be as healthy as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of pregnancy pillows available that can help combat that insomnia by providing comfort and support everywhere you need it, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are in.
Pregnancy Pillows— What to Consider
Sleep Position: When you’re carrying around a much bigger belly than you’re used to, laying down can be uncomfortable, and the sleep positions you typically enjoy may not be an option anymore. It can seem like no comfortable position even exists, but with the right pregnancy pillow, finding a comfortable position is possible for back, side, and even stomach sleepers.
Your favorite sleep position is possible when pregnant, but there is a proper way to accomplish each one. For instance, if you like sleeping on your back, it is best to do so with your upper body propped up so that the extra weight of the belly isn’t placing too much strain on your body, plus the incline can help alleviate heartburn. If you like sleeping on your side, it is recommended that you sleep on your left side to keep blood and nutrients flowing easily to the placenta. If you are a stomach sleeper, you will need a larger pillow that you lay completely on top of (like an air mattress), and it will have a bowl-shaped section to accommodate your belly.
The ultimate goal is to find a sleep position that is comfortable to you, and there will be a pillow that can address any of the issues that arise from it. For some, one large pillow will alleviate any and all stresses on your body, but others may find that they need multiple pillows, including between the knees or under the neck or lower back, to feel comfortable.
Types of Pregnancy Pillows: Although there are hundreds of pregnancy pillows on the market, there are about 5 designs that are most common: wedge, c-shaped, u-shaped, s-shaped, and the standard, rectangular body pillow.
Wedge pillows are usually made from a firm foam, don’t take up much space, and they are most effective in supporting your belly or back. The other pregnancy pillow designs are large and bulky, usually running almost the full length of your body. Depending on how you use them, the c-shaped and u-shaped pillows can be wrapped around both sides of your body, and can support your head, neck, back, belly, hips, and knees all at the same time. The s-shaped pillows and rectangular body pillows are similar, but they don’t wrap around both sides of your body.
Some women find that they are most comfortable with one design for their whole pregnancy, while other women change the pillow based on which stage of pregnancy they are in and their level of comfort. Since there is no real medical reason to use a pregnancy pillow, you can base your decisions about which pillows to use and when solely on what feels good to you. For example, you may find that a large body pillow, as well as another regular pillow, is a good combination for you, or one u-shaped pillow could be all you need for nine straight months.
Materials: Like regular pillows, most pregnancy pillows have polyester fill, but sometimes you will find pregnancy pillows filled with air, memory foam, or microbeads. In some cases, the type of pillow determines the type of fill it has because some materials are more adaptable to certain sleep positions. Either way, it’s best to find the fill material that is most comfortable to you.
The most common material used for pillow covers is cotton, but in general, you should look for a cover that has a low thread count for breathability. Pregnant women are naturally warmer, so any material that can accommodate that is a smart choice. Additionally, a machine-washable cover with a long zipper will make your life a lot easier and will help your pillow stay fresh for a longer period of time.
What Are the Top Seven Pregnancy Pillows?
Here is a summary of the top seven pregnancy pillows, each offering a unique combination of desirable features. All of these products are highly rated, and sleep tested.
What Else Should You Consider When Using and Purchasing Pregnancy Pillows?
There are a few other points to take into consideration when deciding on a pregnancy pillow, including your comfort, the seasons you will be pregnant in, and the stages of pregnancy. Since choosing a pregnancy pillow depends on your perception of comfort, the best one is the one that relieves your aches and pains and lets you achieve restful sleep. But, what you think is comfortable may change throughout the duration of your pregnancy. For example, the late stages of pregnancy may require a more supportive pillow than you the one that made you comfortable in the early stages.
It’s also important to consider the seasons of your pregnancy—pregnant women usually run hot and a bulky pillow could make that worse, especially during the summer months. For this reason, a pillow that will stay cool all night is desirable. Similarly, you will want to find a pregnancy pillow that is hypoallergenic because it is common for women to become irritated by materials that didn’t bother them before. So, it’s best to choose the healthiest option for mom and baby.
Pregnancy Pillows— Final Thoughts
Pregnancy is full of stress, aches and pains, and emotional ups and downs, and getting adequate sleep can help ease these for you and your spouse. A pregnancy pillow is the tool you need in order to rest effectively, and it provides support that a regular pillow, or multiple regular pillows, can’t. So, it’s easy to see that the benefits of a pregnancy pillow outweigh the price of buying one that is quality.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what to look for in a pregnancy pillow and you find one that is so comfortable that you will want to use it even when you’re not pregnant.