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Finding the Best Maternity Pillow

Pregnancy is a beautiful process which leads to a tiny new addition to your family. But nine months of pregnancy can seem like a lifetime as your stomach grows and puts strain on your surrounding bones, joints, and muscles.  The extra weight, combined with the uncomfortable side effects, can make pregnancy very uncomfortable – not to mention all the kicking and acrobatics that baby performs in-utero.

To make matters more challenging, nights can seem like an eternity when you just can’t get comfortable enough to finally fall asleep. Instead of spending the night dreaming of your little one who’s on the way, nights are spent tossing, turning and trying to get comfy. And after the first trimester, pregnant women are commonly advised to sleep only on their sides – which is not the preferred sleeping position for lots of expecting moms.

Getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy pregnancy, and many pregnant women try to get as many extra hours of sleep now, since after the baby is born there will certainly be many nights where sleep is pretty much forgone. But, there is some help for a better night’s sleep available to those who need it most.  It’s called a maternity pillow, also known as a pregnancy pillow.

How Do I Choose A Maternity Pillow?

There are several types of pregnancy pillows on the market, so it can be hard to decide which style and size to choose. The key is to find the one that’s best for you and allows you to be more comfortable, so you can get a good night’s sleep. No matter the shape you choose, consider the size of your bed, yourself and how much extra room you have for the pillow.

Most pregnancy pillows are considered “body” or full-length pillows, but there are also wedge and bean shaped pillows available as well. Full-length pillows offer great support and should be long enough to accommodate your height, but also fit on your bed comfortably so it doesn’t hang off the sides or take up too much precious space.  Wedge and bean shaped pillows are typically much smaller and are designed to support a targeted area.

Although the latter aren’t generally recommended past the second trimester, many find them to be very comfortable in the beginning of their journey.

Why Are Wedge and Bean Shaped Pillows Not Recommended?

While some women do well with these types of maternity pillows – and in fact, prefer them – they do not offer the same amount of support or comfort that full-length pillows offer. This support is vital for the health of both mom and baby.

In some circumstances, wedge and bean shaped pillows are good options. They are less expensive than body pillows, so a mother on a limited budget could still get some much-needed support. They may also be a desirable choice for those with limited space in their homes or beds, since they are much smaller in size. However, if you have the space, a body pillow that provides full body support is generally recommended.

What Types of Full-Length Maternity Pillows Are There?

Full-length maternity pillows come in a variety of sizes and shapes which are named after the letters they resemble. The two most common are C-shaped and U-shaped. A C-shaped pillow wraps under your neck, around your back, and between your legs while leaving your stomach free. A U-shaped pillow is similar to a C-shaped pillow but offers additional support by surrounding your entire body, including your bulging belly.

Other types of body pillows include those which resemble the letters J and V. These are not as supportive as either the C or U shapes, which is why they remain slightly less popular than the other options.

Benefits of Body Pillows

The two primary benefits of body pillows are comfort and safety. These are 2 great benefits; however, these pillows can even provide extra benefit post-birth.

Comfort: Being comfortable is a necessity during pregnancy, not a luxury. Finding comfort at bedtime can feel like an impossibility and getting even a minimal amount of sleep can be difficult. Fluttering kicks, aching back, bulging stomach, nausea, indigestion, acid reflux, increased respiration, increased heart rate, and an under-functioning bladder are just a few of the things which plague pregnant women, especially when they are lying down. A body pillow helps create a more comfortable setting by alleviating much of the pressure on your back and abdomen, and what pregnant woman doesn’t want a pillow that stays cold. Depending on the style and shape you choose, it may also ease pressure on shoulders, neck, and legs.

Safety: Maternity pillows serve the dual purpose of creating a safer environment for both mother and fetus during sleep. A body-length pillow ensures an expecting mom stays positioned on her side, and doesn’t roll onto her stomach or back, which can present issues. They support the stomach in a way that allows surrounding muscles to rest, thus reducing the risk of muscle strain or other injury.

Post-Birth: After your beautiful baby has arrived, the pillow you used while pregnant can turn into a nursing pillow with unrivaled support. During the few days following birth, your muscles will ache more than ever. Your pregnancy pillow will continue to help alleviate some of the same aches and pains that you experienced during pregnancy.