Pregnancy is a gratifying experience for most women. From conception to delivery, the nine-month journey is a wonderful phase of life for every woman. However, as the body goes through constant changes during pregnancy, most women experience difficulties while trying to get a good night’s sleep. A regular pillow may provide comfort but not the support and relaxation you need during pregnancy. A pregnancy pillow is, without a doubt, the best option.
Pregnancy pillows, also known as maternity pillows, are designed specifically to give pregnant women the comfort and support they need throughout the wonderful nine-month journey. A regular pillow cannot provide the relief, comfort, and support that a pregnant woman requires. Your normal pillow has a habit of slipping out of position as you move around the bed while sleeping. What you need is a nice comfortable pregnancy pillow that is designed to accommodate your changing body shape.
What Are The Benefits Of Pregnancy Pillows?
We all know how important sleep is to our well-being, especially for pregnant women. A good night’s sleep helps a pregnant mother to decompress from challenges that accompany pregnancy. Sleep is also important in the development and overall health of the unborn baby. However, quality sleep does not come easy for expectant mothers. It is often difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position as the belly grows. Getting a good night’s sleep eventually becomes a nightly chore with the passing of each month of pregnancy. The situation is exacerbated by constant cramping, baby kickings, shortness of breath, and frequent bathroom trips. Many pregnant women today have discovered the convenience and comfort provided by maternity pillows in alleviating sleeping problems.
A maternity pillow helps a pregnant woman to find a relaxed comfortable sleeping position and enjoy more rejuvenating sleep all night. The special pillow eliminates the tossing and turning that pregnant women often have to endure before finding that sweet sleeping position.
Today, a pregnancy pillow is no longer a luxury for expectant women but an essential need. It helps in reducing stress on the belly, which is quite beneficial to both the mother and the baby. With a pregnancy pillow on your bed, you’ll enjoy relaxed mornings with reduced incidences of pain and discomfort.
Most women prefer to lie on their side in late pregnancy which is why a pregnancy pillow makes you feel comfortable while resting on your side. The pillow is ergonomically designed to significantly reduce the stress your growing belly places on your shoulders, neck, and waist. The pillow is quite functional even after giving birth because it makes it easy to nurse the baby while lying down. This post-natal benefit of maternity pillows allows better bonding between the mother and her baby.
Types Of Pregnancy Pillows
Pregnancy pillows come in different shapes and sizes. They are designed to meet different needs of all types of pregnant women. The pillows are also very economical which is why every expectant mother should have one.
Let’s look at some of the most common types of pregnancy pillows:
Full-Length Maternity Pillow
This is by far the most popular type of pregnancy pillow on the market today. It provides comprehensive support to the expectant mother’s body from head to toe. It measures around 5 to 6 feet long and can easily be wrapped around the body for added comfort.
There are two types of full-length pregnancy pillows namely the straight full-length and flexible full-length pregnancy pillows. The straight type is designed in the same way as your regular pillow but is much longer.This type of pregnancy pillow has the disadvantage of being too rigid, just like a normal pillow. Straight full-length pregnancy pillows cannot bend or twist to a shape that makes you feel more comfortable.
This type of pregnancy pillow has the disadvantage of being too rigid, just like a normal pillow. Straight full-length pregnancy pillows cannot bend or twist to a shape that makes you feel more comfortable.
The flexible type is flexible as the name suggests. It can bend and take any shape you want it to take for your comfort. The pricier versions of flexible pregnancy pillows are made of microbeads filler while the less expensive models are filled with standard Styrofoam balls such as the one you see in a bean bag. Microbeads provide better filling material than standard Styrofoam.
Full-length pregnancy pillows have the advantage of supporting your entire body and ensuring you don’t need extra head pillows to make you feel comfortable. However, keep in mind that these pillows will take up plenty of room on your bed and not the best for a woman who loves sleeping on her back.
Wedge Pregnancy Pillows
Wedge pregnancy pillows come in small triangular shapes designed to provide sufficient support for a particular part of your body. The wedge pillow is commonly placed below the stomach where it efficiently reduces pressure and discomfort on your back.
This type of pillow is available in two styles; namely round and triangular pregnancy wedge pillows. The round wedge pregnancy pillow has a rounded wedge that is designed in the shape of a filled crescent moon while the triangular version is shaped like a wedge of cheese.
Pregnancy wedge pillows have the advantage of being small and compact. They don’t take up much space on your bed. Both you and your partner will still sleep comfortably on the same bed while you snuggle comfortably with your small wedge pregnancy pillow. The small pillow is easy for an expectant mother to carry along with her while traveling. It is also a cheaper pregnancy pillow option. The major disadvantage with wedge pregnancy pillows is the fact they can only support a specific part of your body. You’ll still need a head pillow for maximum comfort and relaxation.
Shaped Maternity Pillows
There is a wide variety of shaped pregnancy pillows you can choose from including C, J, V, and V shaped pillows. Each pillow is named after the shape of the letter it closely resembles. The J-shaped pillow, however, provides the least support due to its shape but the U and V shaped versions are highly recommended because they provide full support for the body.
Shaped maternity pillows are favored by many pregnant mothers because they provide the best support for the baby and do not require additional head pillows for maximum comfort and relaxation. The major downside with this type of maternity pillow is size. Most of them are big and bulky and not ideal for smaller beds. They are also among the most expensive pregnancy pillows on the market today. However, compared to the rest, shaped pregnancy pillows provide the best support for an expectant mother.
What shape of pregnancy pillow should you get?
The 2 most popular types of pregnancy body pillows are C and U shape.
C-shaped pillows typically support the back of your body and tummy. They are perfect for someone who doesn’t turn a lot during their sleep and/or like to “cuddle” However if you do turn a lot you’ll readjust the pillow as well.
U-shaped pillows, on the other hand, give you full support on both sides, perfect for those who are tossing and turning all night. You can switch sides within the pillow without readjusting it.
Both pillows can support the head, neck and are perfect for back or stomach sleepers who need to make the adjustment to sleep on a side.
Whether you choose U or C shaped pillow to get the full benefits, you need to choose one that will give you support between your knees. Placing a pillow between your bent knees supports your lower back and make the recommended side sleeping position more comfortable.
Support for the ankles. For more comfort and pain relief, a pregnant woman prefers pillows that also gives them support between the ankles, so they don’t knock against each other.
Bean-shaped pregnancy pillows
This is another popular style of pregnancy pillows. It has the shape of a bean with straps on each side. The pillow provides good support for the stomach, especially when the belly becomes heavier. The major advantage of using a bean shaped pregnancy pillow is the comfort it provides towards the last trimester and the fact that it is not as bulky as the full body or shaped pregnancy pillows. It is also an inexpensive pregnancy pillow option.
The Best Filling Materials Used in Making Pregnancy Pillows
When shopping for an excellent pregnancy pillow, it is important first to identify the type of filler used in the pillow.
Here are some of the options you may want to consider.
Your overall health should be a primary concern during pregnancy primarily because your well-being is directly related to that of your unborn baby. During pregnancy, your body goes through several changes making you more sensitive to materials and fibers than before. If you find yourself suffering from new allergies, ensure that the pregnancy pillow you choose is made of hypoallergenic fillings. A pregnancy pillow made of hypoallergenic fillings allows you to sleep comfortably without triggering allergies.
A pregnancy pillow made of memory foam responds well to pressure applied, which allows it to take the body shape of the person using it. The pillow is made using a synthetic material for a more personalized fit and enhanced comfort.
Organic materials used in the construction of pregnancy pillows include wheat and cotton. Such materials are not only eco-friendly but ideal for women who have a preference for the smell of organic materials. Other natural fillings include wool, kapok, and spelled.
Factors To Consider In A Pregnancy Pillow
When looking for the best pregnancy pillow, there are several factors you’ll need to consider besides the type of pillow and the filling material used in the pillow’s construction. It is important to take time and compare all the available options to find one that is just right for you. Here are a few key factors to consider before you make that purchasing decision:
Size Does Matter
The worst mistake you can make is to buy a pregnancy pillow that is just too big to fit in your small bed. In this case, you may end up buying a bigger bed or relocating your partner’s sleeping quarters to the couch. Your unborn baby may not be very supportive of the second option. Consider the size of the maternity pillow versus the size of your bed. If you have a larger bed then you can go for a bigger pregnancy pillow that can comfortably fit between the two of you.
Your personal preference will also play a key role in choosing the right size of the pregnancy pillow. While some women love swimming around a large pillow, others prefer smaller types. Choose what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Your body type should also be taken into consideration when purchasing a pregnancy pillow. For example, plus-size women need large sized pillows that are symmetrical to their body shapes.
Removable Covers Are Always Recommended
A great pregnancy pillow should come with a removable cover. This type of pregnancy pillow makes it easy and convenient to wash and clean. Most of these pillows are too huge to fit in your washer so choose one with covers that can easily be removed and washed separately.
Consider The Noise Level
As previously stated, pregnancy pillows come with different filling materials. Some pillows, due to the materials used in their fillings, are generally noisier than others. Noise, in this case, refers to the sound the pillow makes as you move your head or body over its surface. You wouldn’t want a pillow with loud crinkles and rustles that may easily keep you awake all night.
Give close attention to the fabric and fillings used to make the pregnancy pillow. You should preferably aim for a pillow made of memory foam if noise is your major concern. A pillow with Styrofoam fillings is lightweight and easily adapts to your changing body shape but it can be quite noisy as you turn and move over it. Polyester fiber fillings may also be soft and quiet but often lack the right firmness to keep you comfortable. Microbeads are quiet and lightweight but can make the expectant mother feel like she is sleeping on a bag of sand. A memory foam pillow, on the other hand, is quite flexible, changes shape easily, and does not produce unnecessary noise.
The Obvious Question Of Price
There’s not much to talk about as far as price is concerned except point out the fact that while you may be tempted to pick the cheapest option available, remember that you get what you pay for, and that includes quality, durability, and the level of comfort you aspire to get in a pregnancy pillow. It is advisable to look beyond price and consider how the pillow is going to serve you throughout your pregnancy journey. In most cases, the price is determined by the brand of pregnancy pillow you choose, size, materials used in its construction, and quality of the pillow.
How You Sleep Matters Too
Think of your favorite sleeping position before you purchase a pregnancy pillow. There are many women who love sleeping on their sides, some on their backs, and a few who spend almost the entire night passed out on their stomachs (not recommended for pregnant women though). Anyway, choose a pillow that complements your favorite sleeping position.
There is a reason why many pregnant women often wake up with some parts of their bodies hurting such as the knees, ankles, belly, shoulders, and back. The reason is simply because these parts are usually left unsupported while sleeping. A pregnancy pillow with the right design helps to alleviate most of these discomforts besides giving the expectant mother a good night sleep. The types of pregnancy pillows and recommendations discussed above should by now give you a good idea of the right pillow to buy for yourself. Remember, your comfort and the health of your unborn baby, rather than price, should be your primary concern in your quest for the best pregnancy pillow.