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 sleeping on your side, something that's recommended for a healthy pregnancy.
Supine – or back sleeping – during the later stages of pregnancy can be dangerous for unborn babies, so doctors recommend sleeping on your side.
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 adjust for the right sleeping positions in your sleep? Doctors advise expectant mothers to sleep on their sides, but this can be a challenge for some pregnant women. Doctors advise expectant mothers to sleep on their sides, but this can be a challenge for some.
Worry not - pregnancy body pillows can help with this by not only offering full body support - there is a wide selection to choose from, ranging from a full length pillow to different shapes of pregnancy pillows, such as a U shaped pillow, C shaped pillow, J shaped pillow, etc, specifically designed to help provide additional support to your changing body. This allows pressure to be better distributed throughout, and can lead to better sleep for both you and your baby.
Why Use a Pregnancy Body Pillow?
It's not easy to keep track of all the changes your body will experience during pregnancy - among more obvious physical changes such as their growing belly, many pregnant women struggle to have a good night's sleep. While sleeping on your side is recommended by the American Pregnancy Association as the best sleeping position as it helps with relieving pelvic tension, many women can struggle with this if they are not accustomed to it, struggling to find a more comfortable sleeping position. After all, sleeping on your side can result in side effects such as aches and pains in your back and other joints, as well as higher risk of acid reflux.
This is why we recommend you use a pregnancy pillow - in the next section, let's dive in and see why a maternity game pillow can be a game changer for the mother-to-be!
What is a Pregnancy Pillow?
Unlike a regular pillow, a pregnancy pillow is specially designed as a maternity pillow to help mothers get better, more comfortable sleep, before the baby arrives. Pregnancy pillows can help take pressure off your joints and give better belly support and neck support, as well as relieve aches and hip pain.
To use a pregnancy pillow correctly, we recommend sleeping on your side with your belly on the cushion. As the purpose of a pregnancy pillow is that of a supportive pillow that gives the best possible full body support, they come in all shapes and sizes that you can try out and choose from - such as a U shaped pregnancy pillow, C shaped pregnancy pillow, wedge shaped pillows, etc.
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A wedge shaped pillow can help significantly with getting a good night's sleep for mothers-to-be. As a pregnancy pillow, a wedge shaped pillow differs from a regular pillow in its shape; it can slide under your midsection, so that the thicker end of the wedge supports your belly. This will relieve pressure on your upper thighs and lessen back pain, which results in better blood flow and circulation, helping you adjust into a more comfortable sleeping position.
To use a pregnancy pillow properly, you should try sleeping on your side with the cushion supporting your belly - we stress that pregnant mothers should avoid sleeping on their stomach and on their backs for a healthy pregnancy. There are a wide range of pregnancy pillows in various shapes, such as a U shaped pregnancy pillow, C shaped pregnancy pillow, J shaped pregnancy pillow, etc.
If you are struggling to search for the right maternity pillow to start with while you are looking at the variety of uniquely shaped pillows, we recommend our Cuddler. The Cuddler is a full length pillow that can support your legs and shoulders in addition to your belly, which helps relieve aches in your joints and helps significantly with hip pain as it melts away pressure on your joints, letting you drift onto sweet dreams as you toss and turn less alternating between various sleeping positions. The memory foam which composes this long pillow molds to your frame, which helps provide the best support before and after giving birth - it can be the perfect addition to your bed, and your cozy napping companion even as you are bottle feeding your baby!
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 on your bed.
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 helps you fall into deep, restorative sleep!
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, helping you get better, uninterrupted sleep.
This is why opting for a maternity pillow is a practical solution to sleeping problems while pregnant, 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. This is because sleeping on your side helps lower pressure on your veins and arteries, 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 as well, allowing for deep sleep free of acid reflux.
Sleep is the building block for all other health, and pregnancy pillows are a simple way to sleep better. Because they relieve pressure throughout your whole body, studies have shown that body pillows can also help reduce non-REM sleep interruptions.
Once your baby comes into the world, you'll have a whole new set of challenges on your hands that the right maternity pillow 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 without having to search for the best sleeping position as you struggle to fall asleep.
A maternity pillow can also bring comfort and better sleep 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.
When To Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow
Now that we know how body pillows can help with sleep both during your pregnancy and after delivery, the question arises: when should you start using a maternity pillow?.
If you've taken the plunge and purchased a pregnancy pillow, you probably can't wait to start snuggling up and experiment with various side sleeping positions.
While you can start enjoying the benefits of a full body pillow right away and keep using it long after giving birth, we recommend settling into sleeping on your side by 28 weeks of pregnancy at the latest - usually, it is better to try and switch into this sleeping position earlier into the pregnancy.
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.
If you are using regular pillows, the process 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, and let the memory foam melt into your frame.
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.