Pregnancy can be very exciting but challenging at the same time. First, there’s the excitement and joy of bringing a new life into the world but then comes the nausea, after which mothers usually feel like all the sleep in the world is never enough. Just when everything starts to feel normal again, your bump begins to show and starts to get in the way of sleep.
Most mothers experience interrupted sleep during their pregnancy. The main issue is usually finding a comfortable position, especially during the last trimester. While getting quality sleep during the final months of pregnancy can be challenging, the right pregnancy pillow can help.
What’s a Pregnancy Pillow?
Pregnancy pillows or maternity pillows are sleeping aids that support your baby bump, back and bum so that you feel comfortable while sleeping.
They are best used by women who experience difficulty relaxing during their pregnancy. Yes, you can try a normal pillow but they are oftentimes smaller and can shift to a different position while you’re sleeping. The advantage of a pregnancy pillow is that they are specifically made to support your bump and back, even if you move around at night.
What’s the Best Sleeping Position While Pregnant?
For obvious reasons, sleeping on your stomach while pregnant is definitely out of the question. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), sleeping on the left side is highly recommended. Sleeping on the right side is okay too but it can put extra pressure on your liver. Sleeping on the right is generally considered to be safe but it is not ideal.
Since the side sleeping position is recommended, pregnancy pillows can help you stay on your side. These aids will support your bump and back so that you can get a good night’s rest.
What are the Different Types of Pregnancy Pillows?
The C-shaped pregnancy pillow is designed to provide support to the neck, head, back and pelvic regions. They are a favourite among pregnant women because they can prevent pelvic pain.
The downside to using a C-shaped pillow is that they are not ideal for sleepers who constantly shift positions. Although this pillow is specifically designed for side sleepers, it may limit your ability to move around. It also provides good support to the neck and shoulder, so you don’t have to worry about pain in those areas once you get up in the morning.
U-shaped pillows support the whole body. The head, neck, belly, knees and even your ankles can be supported. This type of pillow is great for women who shift from side to side and even to their backs while sleeping. The shape allows for continuous support as you shift around at night. The U-shaped pillow can support the spine and promote the correct alignment.
The U-shaped pillow is one of the biggest pillows available; it is also one of the most expensive on the list. The size can be a problem if you sleep in a small bed or if you sleep with your partner.
If the U-shaped pillow is too big (or too pricey), a good alternative is the V-shaped pillow. This type of pregnancy pillow is smaller and more affordable, compared to the U-shaped one. However, it is just as comfortable and supportive. This pillow supports the head, neck and shoulders as you sleep on your side.
Since it is a smaller version of the U-shaped pillow, it cannot support the bum, back and knees. However, it is still a good choice for women who need neck, back and shoulder support.
The J-shaped pillow is similar to the U-shaped one, but it’s missing a side. It’s also referred to as the candy cane pillow. This shape provides support to the head, neck, shoulders, bum and knees. This is ideal for women who sleep on smaller beds. The missing side makes it easy for users to shift from the side and back sleeping positions.
The wedge pillow is another popular pregnancy pillow. This type allows you to prop yourself up if you need elevation in the torso area. This versatile pillow can be used while sitting or sleeping, and you can even use it to support your bump.
The wedge pillow is a good choice for women who get too hot or too cold while sleeping. That’s because you can place a heating pad or cooling pad between you and the pillow while sleeping. It can also be used to help alleviate heartburn, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Some of these pillows can be an expensive investment. That’s why some women forgo the pregnancy pillow. However, you can still use the pillow after pregnancy. These pillows can give you support while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby. Just prop up the pillow under your arm so that it won’t get tired while you nurse. It can also take a while before the baby weight comes off, so many women still need belly and bum support during the post-partum recovery.
Best of all, many of these pillows can be used not just by pregnant women but by most sleepers. People who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), for instance, can use any of these pillows to help alleviate pain. Sleeping on the left side or in an elevated position prevents the release of acid, thereby preventing the burning sensation GERD sufferers feel.
People who snore can also benefit from some of these pillows, especially the wedge-shaped pillow. Keeping your upper body elevated prevents the tongue from slipping down the throat and keeps airways open. This means a more peaceful sleep for you and your partner.