Do You Need A Pregnancy Pillow? When To Start, Benefits, And More
A pregnancy pillow can provide extra support for pregnant bellies while relieving the aches and pains associated with carrying a child. The different types also help encourage side sleeping, something that’s recommended for the baby’s health.
Supine – or back sleeping – during the later stages of pregnancy can be dangerous for unborn babies, so doctors recommend side sleeping.
Pregnancy pillows like a wedge pillow or body pillow can help relieve some of the discomfort associated with side sleeping.
Pregnancy body pillows can be used as early as you like and can even be used after pregnancy for continued health benefits.
Did you know?
The University of Auckland, Cure Kids, and the New Zealand Ministry of Health launched the ‘Sleep on Side; Stillbirth Prevention Campaign’ in 2018. It aims to educate pregnant women about the dangers of sleeping on their backs in the later stages of pregnancy.
Are your hips and back being weighed down by a bundle of joy that hasn’t come into the world just yet? Are you struggling to get decent sleep because of it?
Doctors advise expectant mothers to sleep on their sides, but this can be a challenge for some.
Pregnancy body pillows can help with this by not only offering a cushy resting place for that tummy, but also for mom’s arms and legs. This allows pressure to be better distributed throughout the body and can lead to a more peaceful rest.
Why Use a Pregnancy Body Pillow?
It’s not easy to keep track of all the changes your body will experience during pregnancy. Movies and TV do their best to show the struggle of bringing new life into the world, but some of the details get skimmed over – like the struggle to stay on your side throughout the night.
For many, side-sleeping is the go-to position, but for others it’s unnatural. Unfortunately for them, it’s also the recommended sleeping position by the American Pregnancy Association.
This isn’t just a gentle recommendation, either. A 2019 study showed that stillbirths after 28 weeks could be reduced by 5.8% if everyone slept on their sides.
Even those of us who love sleeping on our sides might find it hard to stay there throughout the night, though. And side sleeping can cause aches and pains in your back and other joints.
That’s what a pregnancy body pillow is for.
These cuddly pillows can support your body and take pressure off your joints, allowing for longer and easier sleep.
What is a Pregnancy Pillow?
A quick search for pregnancy pillows can leave you drowning in a sea of results that offer conflicting information, so here’s a life raft.
Pregnancy pillows come in all shapes and sizes, but they have one common goal: give pregnant bellies a place to rest so parents-to-be can get a little shut-eye.
Using a pregnancy pillow properly means sleeping on your side with your belly on the cushion. There are a few ways you can shake up this formula, though.
One of the most common (and oldest) types of pregnancy pillows, the wedge pillow has a great track record. A 1989 study compared it to regular hospital pillows and found that it helped pregnant patients with their backaches.
As the name suggests, this pillow is shaped like a wedge and can slide under your midsection so that the thicker end supports your belly . This takes a lot of the weight off the hips and back, relieving pain come morning.
For a larger option that can support your legs and shoulders in addition to your belly, you may want to consider an organic body pillow like our Cuddler. This type of pillow can lead to many benefits, from reduced pressure across the body to fewer interruptions to sleep. They’re also great for your sleeping posture after giving birth, too!
There are plenty of shapes to choose from in the wonderful world of body pillows, so take your time and find what’s right for you.
Who doesn’t love a good DIY solution? If you’re looking to cobble together your own pregnancy pillow, consider turning to what’s already in your closet.
Since they tend to move around a little more and are softer than wedge and body pillows, traditional pillows can sometimes be less effective, but they may be worth a shot if you want to save a buck. You can experiment with using multiple pillows in different positions till you find what’s comfiest for you.
Benefits of Using a Pregnancy Body Pillow
Since they’re bigger than wedge pillows or traditional pillows, body pillows provide more support for the whole body, while the other two options are focused on supporting the belly.
But whichever type of pillow you choose, you can look forward to some essential benefits.
Less Aches and Pains
While side-sleeping at night, extra weight in the midsection starts to pull on your hips and back. Pregnancy pillows help by elevating that weight and keeping it from dragging the rest of the body out of place.
It’s a practical solution to a simple problem, and it can lessen discomfort through the night and into the morning.
Improved Blood Circulation
Side sleeping can lead to better blood circulation throughout the body, whether you’re pregnant or not. There’s less pressure on veins and arteries in this sleeping position, allowing more nutrients to reach your baby while helping to prevent you from developing varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
On top of that, sleeping on your left side could help with digestion.
Sleep is the building block for all other health, and pregnancy body pillows are a simple way to sleep better. Because they relieve pressure throughout the body, studies have shown that body pillows can also help reduce non-REM sleep interruptions.
Once your little tyke comes into the world, you’ll have a whole new set of challenges on your hands that body pillows can help with. Facing all the sleep interruptions of a new parent, you’ll want to make sure that when you are able to rest, you’re as cozy as can be.
A body pillow can also bring comfort to you and your newborn at the same time – for example, you could wrap one around your waist and use it as a cushion for your baby to lay on as they breastfeed.
There are also plenty of other ways that body pillows can help you get a great sleep after delivery.
When To Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow
If you’ve taken the plunge and purchased a pregnancy pillow, you probably can’t wait to start snuggling up.
You can start enjoying the benefits of a full body pillow right away and keep using it long after giving birth.
However, if you’re thinking more along the lines of a wedge pillow or a DIY solution, the timing will be up to you.
By 28 weeks at the latest, sleeping on your side should be your new nighttime norm, but if your belly is starting to show earlier than that and you can feel discomfort setting in, you could try to make the switch even earlier.
How To Use a Pregnancy Pillow
Depending on what product you choose, your pregnancy pillow positions will be different.
If you’re using a wedge, you can start by lying next to it and gently rolling over, placing your tummy on the larger end.
The DIY option will look similar, but with a softer pillow. For added back support, you can pad up your back with another head pillow.You could even add a third pillow between the knees for further support.
And since it’s crucial to make sure you don’t feel like you’re off balance, you’ll want to adjust appropriately, making sure you feel stable and secure throughout the night.
Finally, if you’re wondering how to sleep with a body pillow while pregnant, the steps are the same as for anyone else using these cushy spooning pals. Wrap your legs and arms around the upper and lower portions and rest your tummy in the middle.
For more tips, have a look at our guide to using a body pillow.
Growing a child is a 24/7 job, and it doesn’t get any easier at night. Doctors recommend sleeping on your side from 28 weeks on, and body pillows can help with that.
A pregnancy pillow can improve circulation for your baby and reduce pressure on your hips and back. You may want to consider one if you’re looking to maximize sleep and minimize discomfort. If you want an option that will stay fresh through daily use, it may be helpful to choose an option like our Cuddler, which comes with a removable body pillow cover.