Pregnancy is an exceptional period for any woman. But not many people talk about the struggles of lying in bed, trying to figure out the best position. Before labor pains and delivery struggles, pregnant women experience enough struggles throughout the nine months, trying to sleep comfortably.
Luckily, pregnancy pillows offer comfort and present the risk of aches and regular cramps. It’s almost like sleeping next to a cuddly person, the only difference being that the pillow is fluffy and soft.
You need the pillow to support your belly, position your back, and so much more. If you’re unsure about pregnancy pillows, read on to understand what they are and why they’re beneficial.
What is a Pregnancy Pillow?
A pregnancy pillow or maternity pillow is a comfortable sleep accessory designed to help pregnant mothers sleep better. Unlike standard pillows, a pregnancy pillow is elongated to support a pregnant woman’s body. You can wrap it around your back, place it between your legs, or wrap it around the belly if it’s a smaller pillow.
Like other pillows, a pregnancy pillow is made of firm but comfortable material, such as polyester, microbeads, or polyfoam. Moreover, these pillows come in different shapes and sizes.
The Benefits of a Pregnancy Pillow
1. Offers support
Typically, women start to add weight when they’re pregnant. Your body feels heavier, and you can barely keep track of the changes. Sleeping becomes a struggle because you don’t know how to position yourself in bed.
Well, the pregnancy pillow keeps your back, neck, hips, and belly aligned. It supports your belly and reduces excess pressure around the pelvic area. Furthermore, there are different types of pregnancy pillows to support all your body parts.
2. It prevents you from sleeping on your back
Rolling over and changing positions is expected in your sleep. But did you know sleeping on your back while you’re pregnant isn’t advisable? This is because as your pregnancy progresses, sleeping on your back can limit blood flow to the baby.
The weight of your uterus presses on the vena cava, which is a significant blood vessel transporting blood to the baby, hindering blood circulation. You’ll also feel dizzy, nauseated, or have difficulty breathing.
Therefore, the pregnancy pillow acts as a border while you sleep. The U-shaped pillow is perfect for women who tend to roll onto their backs while they sleep.
3. Ease of changing sleep positions
Adjusting sleep positions seems like a challenging science project for most women. You have to move your whole body slowly and strategically; some women even sit up, then change positions.
Your legs cramp up, or you may experience discomfort around your hip area.
Pregnancy pillows are a game-changer as they make these adjustments effortless. All you have to do is place the pillow between your legs to reduce discomfort, making it easier for you to turn.
4. Enhances blood circulation
A pregnant woman’s body works overtime to transport blood to the baby. As mentioned above, lying on your back can limit the transportation of blood to the baby.
A pregnancy pillow ensures you sleep on your side, which is the best position for blood circulation. Sleeping sideways might be uncomfortable, but the pregnancy pillow will support your belly weight and reduce cramps. You can also find a pillow with soft cushioning for comfort.
5. Manages pregnancy conditions
Whether it’s heartburn, cramps, or body aches, pregnancy comes with many uncomfortable conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions make it difficult for you to enjoy your sleep.
The pregnancy pillow props your body up while you lie sideways to prevent acid reflux, relieving recurrent heartburn. In addition, a pregnancy pillow models your pregnant frame offering comfort to every part of your body. As a result, you don’t have to worry about back pains and crippling cramps.
6. Facilitates better sleep
Sleep is essential during pregnancy. In fact, research shows that not getting enough sleep during pregnancy increases the risk for complications like gestational diabetes. Your pregnancy pillow ensures you sleep longer and uphold the safety of your pregnancy.
When you’re well-rested, you become more relaxed and healthy.
7. Helpful post-pregnancy
Believe it or not, you can use your pregnancy pillow long after the baby comes home. You can use it as a nursing pillow or as support for yourself as you recover from childbirth.
Remember, your back is still weak, and your body hurts.
Additionally, you can turn the pillow into a sleep accessory for your newborn (places your baby in the proper sleeping position).
8. It’s portable
Let’s face it, mums, nobody wants to leave the comfort of their home when pregnant, especially for a sleepover. You already have your routine, know how to switch sleep positions in your bed, and want to be comfortable.
Well, owning a pregnancy pillow allows you to sleep anywhere comfortably. In addition, the pillows are portable, lightweight, and can fit into a travel bag. Therefore, whether you’re sleeping in a hotel or visiting your parents, you can bring your maternity pillow for comfort and support.
Types of Pregnancy Pillows
1. U-shaped pillow: This pillow is shaped like the letter “U.” It goes around your body, offering support to the front and back of your entire body. It’s perfect for women who tend to roll over.
2. C-shaped pregnancy pillow: Shaped like the letter “C,” this pregnancy pillow covers your back area, but the front part is open. You can place part of the pillow between your legs to support the belly and position the other half to support your neck and head.
3. Wedge-shaped pregnancy pillow: The wedge-shaped pillow is smaller than the other pillows. It works perfectly in supporting your belly. You can place it below your stomach or on the back. Alternatively, you can buy two wedge-shaped pillows for the front and the back.
When Should You Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow?
Ideally, you should start using your pillow by the time you’re halfway through. However, this depends on preference. Some people use it earlier in the pregnancy, whereas others wait until they experience problems sleeping.
At 20 weeks, your belly might be protruding, and the weight can be overwhelming on your body.
However, don’t forget that sleeping with a pregnancy pillow prevents you from blocking blood circulation and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications.
How to Select The Right Pregnancy Pillow
A lot of things go into selecting a maternity pillow. After all, you want something comfortable, firm, and soft. So, what factors do you need to look out for when buying these pillows?
1. Material: Pregnancy pillows need to be made out of comfortable material. So far, cotton, polyester, microbeads, or polyfoam are excellent materials for pillow manufacture. They are firm, soft, and provide excellent airflow. However, you also need to ensure that the material aligns with your temperature needs. Some materials, like memory foam, will retain heat, which can be uncomfortable.
2. Size: Pregnancy pillows come in different sizes. You want a pillow that’s large enough and wraps around your body. Additionally, you want a pillow that will accommodate your changing body throughout the pregnancy. Depending on the type, find a pillow that’s large enough to support your belly, back, neck, hip area, and head.
3. Shape: Yes, as mentioned above, there are three unique pregnancy pillow shapes; U-shaped, C-shaped, and Wedge-shaped. Therefore, understand how each shape functions and pick one that suits your needs. For example, some moms only need support around the belly, while others yearn for full-body support. Typically, it all depends on the future mother.
4. Firmness: The purpose of a pregnancy pillow is to offer support. Therefore, if it isn’t firm enough, it defeats the purpose. For example, polyester pregnancy pillows tend to be softer than foam-based pillows. A firm pillow lasts longer and offers better support.
5. Flexibility: You should be able to mold your pregnancy pillow into different shapes and sizes that fit your body. Therefore, find a pillow that’s flexible and foldable.
6. Ease of cleaning: You need to keep your pregnancy pillow clean because pregnant women can easily catch infections due to compromised immunity. Furthermore, pregnant women tend to sweat a lot. Therefore, find pillows that are easy to clean and quick to dry. In fact, it helps to buy pillows that come with a removable cover.
7. Price: Although it isn’t a determining factor, you can make a point to buy affordable pregnancy pillows. After all, expensive doesn’t always mean comfort and vice versa. You can find pregnancy pillows for as low as $25- $30 or others that go up to $100. So do your research and purchase a pillow that’s within your budget.
How to Clean Pregnancy Pillows
Always ensure your pillow is clean to avoid infections and promote quality sleep. Nobody wants to sleep on a smelly or dusty pillow.
Cleaning pregnancy pillows solely depends on the manufacturer’s instructions. But most pillows are machine washable and dryer friendly. However, don’t apply too much pressure, which may destroy the pillow.
Set the washer and dryer on a slow cycle and use a little detergent. Rinse your pillow thoroughly and place it in the dryer to avoid water absorption. Most pillows feature absorbent materials. If the cover is removable, remove it and wash it separately.
Wash your pillow regularly, but don’t overdo it, as it can lose its firmness.
Are Pregnancy Pillows Worth it?
They are 100% worth it. These pillows provide comfort and allow pregnant women to sleep for longer hours without the risk of complications. They also uphold pregnancy safety, and you can use them after you deliver the baby.
Therefore, as you do your pregnancy shopping, don’t forget to add this unique accessory to the list. Here’s to more great naps and full-body support. All the best!