The miracle of childbirth is an extraordinary experience for every couple, but it's not all roses. One thing that women can take away from the experience of pregnancy is how uncomfortable it can become to sleep.
You may have noticed your body is changing. You may also have noticed these changes are causing you some discomfort while sleeping.
In fact, many women find they experience leg cramps and backaches, and have a difficult time finding a comfortable position to sleep in, but you may not know you don't have to suffer.
A pregnancy pillow can ease your discomfort and give you a great night's sleep every night since it's effective for all different body types women may experience during pregnancy.
Body Changes To Expect During Pregnancy
A woman's body during pregnancy is constantly evolving, and since that baby bump keeps getting bigger, it makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleep position.
Adding onto this is the leg cramps, backaches, and increased tenderness that are common side effects of being pregnant. After going through all that pain on a consistent basis, you shouldn't be surprised that sleeping comfortably is hard to achieve.
Women often find themselves tossing and turning in the night to try and get comfortable. But the more you move during the night, the worse you end up sleeping.
Many also experience frequent urination, and if you're being woken up in the middle of the evening to use the bathroom, you are going to want to get any sleep you can while you can.
What Is A Pregnancy Pillow?
A pregnancy pillow is a pillow specifically designed to cater to the needs of the ever-changing body of a pregnant woman. Keep in mind that this isn't a product you'll have to replace as you get further along in your pregnancy, which is good news for your wallet.
These pillows conform to a woman's body in such a way that it guarantees relieve from any discomfort or pressure that may result from bad sleep posture. This not only supplies the mother with a good night's sleep but also ensures that the baby isn't feeling any weight either.
It is a concern of many mothers that undue weight may be placed on the baby bump during the night and a pregnancy pillow can help to prevent this to protect the child and ease their concerns. Some may be wondering about the differences between a pregnancy pillow and a body pillow, and the answer is simple.
Particular body pillows are considered to be pregnancy pillows, but not all pregnancy pillows are body pillows. That sounds vague, but a body pillow is just one type of maternity pillow. A body pillow can be a great option for a pregnant woman, but it's important to know all of your options when making this decision, so you know what is right for you and your baby.
It will become apparent there are other types of body pillows that we will cover in this article, such as the wedge, which you may prefer in the long run. Provide body support: with a pregnancy pillow, you will have the proper support for your baby bump, as well as your back and neck.
They are specifically designed to help expectant mothers sleep in the half-fetal position, as this is the most comfortable position to be sleeping in, especially if they have neck or backaches. As it relieves pressure on your spine, back, and hips, you should expect a pregnancy pillow to align those sections of your body.
Stimulates Deep Sleep
If you can't get into a comfortable position, you will be tossing and turning all night. A pregnancy pillow guides you to achieve the optimal sleeping posture as well as also preventing all that excess movement that was disrupting your sleep. If you move less in the middle of the night, you will sleep deeper and feel more rested to face the next day.
Good For Baby Support
If you thought the benefits of the pregnancy pillow ended after the baby is born, you are in for a treat. You can continue to use the pillow as a sleeping aid even for post-pregnancy needs. In fact, men can use it too! It can also now be used to assist in the nursing of the baby or as a barrier to stop the child from rolling over.
Lowers Heart Rate
Hugging the pregnancy pillow relaxes the woman's body and lowers her heart rate at the same time, so there is both a physical and emotional benefit to the action.
Increases Blood Circulation
Sleeping on one's side also promotes better blood circulation, but many women find that this position is uncomfortable with the growing size of their baby bump. The pregnancy pillow allows women to lay comfortably on their side, both relieving their hip and back, and improving blood circulation.
As long as the woman is not constantly changing positions her muscles will be given ample time to relax during the night. Since the pregnancy pillow provides a comfortable foundation for a woman, it guarantees support during the evening. This will cause a woman to remain still, which gives way for her muscles to receive the proper rest they need and deserve.
Gets Rid Of Body Ache
Carrying around all that extra weight can put a toll on a woman's body, so many have to deal with various aches and pains that are directly caused by poor sleep. The pregnancy pillow offers extra cushioning and is very soft, so it relieves the mother of all her discomfort in one go.
Offers Side Sleep Option
Sleeping on one's side is often recommended by doctors to promote blood circulation, but it can be a discomfort or concern because of hip pain or the baby bump. The pregnancy pillow gets rid of these concerns and offers the mother the optimal way for her to sleep on her side.
You can see there are many pregnancy problems that the pillow deals with that can significantly elevate your discomfort during such magical time.
Types Of Pregnancy Pillows
There are several different types of pregnancy pillows, and it will be up to you to choose best one for yourself.
A wedge-shaped pillow is made to be placed underneath the belly or back to add the necessary support that a mother requires throughout the night.
The wedge is the cheapest option out of all the pregnancy pillows, which is something to consider if money is a factor in play.
In regards to design, many mothers appreciate the practicality it provides since it is more applicable after childbirth than beforehand. In fact, you can use wedge-shaped pillows in mundane ways such as propping yourself up while watching TV or while reading.
Three Basic Positions For Wedge Pillow
List Of Different Shapes
It is the smallest of the pregnancy pillows so it can fit on your bed more easily and will not disturb your partner either. It can also be useful if you're traveling while pregnant since it can be easily carried with you or perhaps even stored away. The problem with its otherwise convenient size is that you still require a separate pillow for your head.
It only supports one body part at a time, so the uneven pressure support ends up creating muscle strains in some regions of a mom's back that defeats the purpose of using the pillow.
Some buyers have also expressed that the steepness of the wedge's slope can also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so women should make sure they know the dimensions of the wedge before making a purchase.
Full-Length Pregnancy Pillow
Full-length simply means that these pregnancy pillows run along the length of your body, and are also known as body pillows.
This pillow type always runs straight and can be great to snuggle up with, but it does provide less back support than others. This type is suitable for those using multiple pillows for body support that tend to get moved around as the night goes on.
For a more stable option, you should consider full-length pregnancy pillows because of its size.
Straight Pregnancy Pillows
The name straight refers to a pregnancy pillow that appears to have a long straight shape to it which you shouldn't expect it bend or twist. This kind of pillow typically resembles your regular head pillow.
Flexible Pregnancy Pillow
Flexible pregnancy pillows are commonly made of a flexible material that will conform to your body shape while you sleep.
The more expensive options may even have microbeads while the cheaper option may just have the standard styrofoam balls. The microbeads will offer more support, but then again it will be more expensive.
It's designed to be held and cuddled with while you sleep. You should expect it to support your whole body and this time there is no separate head pillow required. This way you also get the benefit that comes with hugging that's mentioned above as well.
It lowers heart rate to relieve stress levels common with pregnant and post-pregnant women.
It takes up more room on the bed which means it could inconvenience your partner. Flexible pillows are also not ideal for back sleepers as it forces one to be on their side to get the intended benefits.
Full Body Pregnancy Pillows
Full body or total body pregnancy pillows wage around the entirety of the pregnant body to providing superior support.
These models usually run about five to six feet long, so they're long enough for most women to find suitable comfort. The design allows a woman to curl up with the pillow surrounding both her front and back.
If you are one of the many women suffering from increased backaches during your pregnancy, then the increased spinal support is just what you need. The full body pillow is available in two standard shapes, each named after the letter they each resemble.
The C shaped pregnancy pillow is designed to be used in the riding position. The bottom of the C is meant to be saddled between your legs and the top to be placed underneath your head. The ends of the C curl inward as well. This means the top comes down and gives added neck support while the top curls up to support your bump.
The body of the C nestles against your back giving you extra support for your spine, which relieves that back stress during sleep. It has also been discovered that the C shaped pillow is a favorite model for plus-sized women, as the open side at the front permits more flexibility to the overall pillow form.
The U shaped pregnancy pillow is meant to be straddled by one leg, as if like you were a cat sleeping up on a tree branch, while the other leg wraps around your back, causing the two ends to be pressing against either side of you.
Like the other shape, this model is suitable for those who prefer to sleep on their back but no longer can due to their larger baby bump. It gives that extra back support you may be looking for from your pillow.
Many users have also recommended from their own experience that this pillow is good for those women expecting twins or even more as the larger pillow size gives more support to your larger than average bump.
The full body style pregnancy pillow provides full body support, which means it relieves back pain, takes pressure off the hips, lowers heart rate, and increases blood circulation. You will sleep more deeply since this style of pregnancy pillow comes with all the benefits that have been talked about so far.
Since the full body pillow guarantees all the pregnancy benefits you could ask for, its price reflects as such.
In regards to size, this pillow is also the biggest and bulkiest, so it's entirely suitable for a mother to sleep on. It will be difficult to share a bed with this pillow, so keep this in mind if you prefer to have your partner lay next to you while you sleep.
As you can see, the high cost of this pillow comes with all the benefits detailed above, which no other pregnancy pillow can fully offer.
Types Of Material Used
Each material provides a particular kind of support that you have to familiarize yourself with, so you can expertly decide on the optimal pregnancy pillow that will suit your pregnancy physique.
This would be the filling commonly associated with bean bag chairs. The small ball shape allows the pillow to conform to your body shape quickly but will make noise when you shift around.
A soft material that won't make noise when you move during the night. In regards to the firmness levels, the amount of fibers ultimately dictates how soft or firm the pillow is.
The downside to this material is that it does not tend to breathe as well as others, so it'll absorb sweat and will cause skin irritations to occur.
Microbeads are very tiny beads that measure about 1/32 inch in diameter. Pillows filled with this material feel as if they've been filled with sand, except it won't feel as heavy as sand.
These microbeads provide more support with no noise than pillows made out of styrofoam balls, which is something to take into consideration if you are a light sleeper.
Memory foam conforms to the shape of your body, but reverts to its original shape once you get off. This means that memory foam won't sag or lose its firmness over time, which means it's one of the more durable materials out there.
The material can retain heat, so manufacturers end up shredding memory foam before they pack it in the pillow. The shredding process creates the pockets of air that permits the pillow to breath better.
If you want everything about your childbirth and pregnancy to be as natural as possible, then you should look out for organic fillings such as spelt, wool, or kapok.
But be careful to look for the word organic and not natural since natural holds no health benefits while the term organic does.
Popular Pillow Cover Materials
Since we mentioned numerous types of pregnancy pillows, it's only fair we give you a brief overview, so you fully comprehend the different kinds of pregnancy pillows available
The wedge style should be placed under your bump or behind your back for support. It can also be used to give your neck some support The full-length is ideal for cuddling and giving you either front or back support.
Moving onto the full body pregnancy pillow, you'll typically have to wrap it around your entire body to ensure full support. It's important to remember that you can continue to use this after your pregnancy while nursing or to act as a wall for your baby.
Manufacturers To Look Out For
Now that you have an understanding as to what features are essential to look out for when you're in the market for a pregnancy pillow, you can move onto the next stage of the buying process.
Below are some well-known pregnancy pillow manufacturers that are an ideal starting point to begin your search.
Leachco is a family owned company dedicated to creating products to help households, which means it'smom-friendly. All the products the company produces come from the mind of Jamie, who is a mother herself as well as a registered nurse.
Leachco made its mark when Jamie had the idea to design a safety wrap that would keep her baby in its highchair. Ever since then, this manufacturer went on to sell other products such as the Snoogle, which is a bestselling pregnancy pillow.
Everything PharMeDoc does is dedicated to the idea that there are three pillars to having a wholesome and balanced lifestyle--Work, Recovery, and Rest.
People must work so they may better themselves and grow, which means that they must receive proper recovery to nurture their mind and body so that they can be ready for the next day. You need to have good nights rest to replenish all that lost energy, which is what PharMeDoc guarantees with its products.
PharMeDoc is widely known to manufacture a high-quality bedding line that's dedicated to ensuring you're well rested. Specifically, its bedding line features high-grade form and support that is apparent with their series of pregnancy pillows.
On top of catering to the needs of mothers, PharMeDoc also has a fitness line built to help you meet your fitness goals and then recover properly as well.
Hiccapop is a company based on its bump-2-baby business model, that ensures all your pregnancy and childcare needs are meet with innovation, sophistication, and thoughtful design.
This manufacturer does this by bringing some of the finest young talents in the industry to develop state of the art maternity gear. All Hiccapop wants is to find simple solutions to age-old problems, and then make it look aesthetically pleasing for you as well.
One aspect of pregnancy pillows we haven't discussed is cleaning, which is a topic that needs discussion.
As your pregnancy progresses, there's going to be some sweat-drenched nights. Depending on your pillow material, your pillow may end up absorbing all of your sweat or allowing it to breathe through. In other words, you should expect your pillow to get gross the more you sweat.
You cannot clean a pregnancy pillow as you would a standard pillow because of one differentiating feature, its much larger size. Due to its size, anything from a wedge to a full body pillow will not be easy to clean and would be a nightmare. Luckily a pillow cover is a simple and easy solution to this problem.
All you have to do is simply slip off the cover and clean it as you would your sheets, which typically involves a washing machine and some detergent. Many manufacturers even sell spare pillow covers in different designs and colors if you prefer to leave your laundry drying overnight.
Pregnancy causes a lot of discomfort for mothers but a good night's rest can go along way to solving a lot of problems. Pregnancy pillows can obviously help women having trouble sleeping, but even those who just have a bit of back pain can take advantage of what these pillows have to offer.
Pregnancy pillows can heal physical pain, but can also help with emotional support since it lowers your heart rate along with stress. Out of all the numerous different types of pillows to choose from mentioned above, hopefully, one stood out to cater to your sleeping needs.
Now that you have a deeper understanding in regards to the basics of maternity pillows, you're one hundred percent ready to move onto the next step in the pregnancy pillow buying process. You can expertly judge what kinds of models companies have to offer, but if you're still on the fence, you should refer to our pregnancy pillow buyer's guide.
Luckily our buyer's guide provides brief reviews regarding different favorite pregnancy pillow models from the top manufacturers in the field that have been mom-tested and approved.