Sleeping during pregnancy is difficult. Everyone tells you to get some sleep before the baby arrives, but I think sleeping while pregnant is even harder than newborn sleep. If you want to get more rest, learn how to use a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep better.
Everyone talks about how hard it is to handle sleeping with a newborn, but no one talks about how hard pregnancy sleep is. Once I have my babies, I sleep better, not worse, even if I am waking up every two hours to feed my baby!
While we know that it’s difficult to sleep during pregnancy, a pregnancy pillow is a popular solution. These maternity pillows are designed to help pregnant women get some sleep, but they also take care of common aches and pains you might experience.
You aren’t alone in your pregnancy sleeping troubles. Around 78 percent of women have disturbed sleeping patterns throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy is one of the most joyous times in a woman’s life, but it also brings a lot of changes to your body. Some of those changes make it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
Hormones play a significant role in pregnancy, and those hormones change your sleep patterns. Pregnancy increases the progesterone levels in your body, and high levels of progesterone cause daytime sleepiness.
At the same time, hormones also cause all of those crazy, vivid dreams. I remember one dream that I had triplets – naturally – in Spain, and I named them. I woke up from that dream remembering the feel of the babies in my arms. What a crazy dream!
Everyone has a bit of stress, but moms seem to have a hard time turning off the stress and worries in their mind. Do you find yourself worrying all night? We know that thoughts can keep you up for hours.
Hormones cause heartburn, and heartburn is miserable. I spent many nights awake, praying that the heartburn would go away. It’s one of the most common reasons that keep expecting mothers awake at night.
Those pesky hormones relax your body, including the muscles in your stomach. That means the muscle that keeps food down in your stomach is relaxed, and it allows stomach acid to flow back up your esophagus.
What is a Pregnancy Pillow?
A pregnancy pillow, or often called a pregnancy support pillow, is a pillow that is designed to help support your body as it changes throughout your pregnancy.
Most of these pregnancy body pillows are longer than usual because they need to support your whole body, including your knees, so they can ease discomfort. These pillows are most useful during the later stages of pregnancy when sleeping feels like a full-time job.
You should consider getting a pregnancy sleeping pillow around 20 weeks pregnant. That’s when most of the pain and discomfort of pregnancy starts to set in while you try to sleep. By the third trimester, muscles and joints feel more stress and discomfort, so you’ll want to have a best pregnancy pillow by then.
The Benefits of Sleeping with a Pregnancy Pillow?
Sleeping with a pregnancy pillow comes with many benefits. The main benefit would be to sleep better, but there are advantages beyond that. A few of those benefits include:
1. Reduces Body Aches
Pregnancy increases your body weight, and it also applies pressure on your back, legs, and joints. Sleeping with a pregnancy pillow reduces stress on those parts of your body that are most likely to experience pain throughout pregnancy.
2. Helps with Blood Circulation
When you sleep on your side, it helps to increase your blood circulation. All of the paddings makes it much easier and more comfortable to sleep on your side for long periods.
3. Helps You Get Better Sleep
The most obvious benefit of a pregnancy pillow is that you get better sleep. You’ll get longer and more restful sleep, so you can finally recharge and prepare for the birth of your child.
Types of Pregnancy Pillows
Search online, and you’ll find dozens of pregnancy pillows available to purchase. They come in all shapes and sizes, and all of the options make it a bit overwhelming.
You have to consider which maternity pillow best suits your needs, so let’s take a look at all of the different styles of pregnancy pillows and their attributes.
Here are the five types of pregnancy pillows you might consider purchasing.
If you want a pillow that takes over the entire bed, a full-length pregnancy pillow does the job. It’s the right choice if you want support for specific troubled areas, such as your knees, belly, and head.
Full-length pillows are long and straight, which is perfect for snuggling and embracing while you sleep. They’re not the same thing as a body pillow, which is straight.
2. C-Shaped Full Body
Think of the “c” as in the word comfort. These pillows are designed to support your entire body throughout pregnancy. C-shaped pregnancy pillows look like a giant C.
Using a c-shaped pillow gives you plenty of support without needing to fix multiple pillows. You can set it for the night and not worry anymore. Another option is to use it for help when you’re sitting up in bed watching TV or reading.
While this style of pillow doesn’t take up too much space, the size means that it won’t support your back and belly at the same time.
Are you a side sleeper? If so, a u-shaped pregnancy pillow is an excellent choice for sleeping. It looks like a giant horseshoe with comfortable padding rather than metal. That’s the basic idea of a u-shaped pregnancy pillow.
U-shaped pillows are perfect for side sleeping because you straddle one side of the U, which supports your stomach. Your head rests on the curve. Some women who sleep on their back also enjoy this pillow shape.
Unfortunately, u-shaped pillows are huge, so your partner might end up on the couch.
A pregnancy pillow for stomach sleepers. I’m a stomach sleeper, and pregnancy makes sleeping on my stomach rather tricky. As your belly grows larger, it becomes more uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach for obvious reasons. Also, pregnancy can significantly limit your range of motion.
That’s where inflatable pillows come into play. They’re inflated, so it’s like having a separate mattress on top of your bed. Then, in the middle of the pillow, they cut a comfortable hole, so your belly is cradled while you lay on your stomach.
It might look a bit ridiculous having an inflatable pillow on top of your mattress, but if you love sleeping on your stomach, then it’s worth looking a bit silly while you sleep.
5. Pregnancy Wedges
The last type of pregnancy pillow is called a pregnancy wedge, but they really aren’t pillows. Pregnancy wedges are inexpensive and work to target specific areas of your body that need more support or comfort.
Pregnancy wedges are triangular so that they can slide under the area that needs the most support. Some women love to put these pregnancy wedges under their growing baby belly for some help while side sleeping.
Wedges won’t give you any back support. It’s only for belly support, along with your hips, back, and neck.maternity pillow
Healthy Sleeping Positions for Pregnancy?
The American Pregnancy Association says that the best sleep position during pregnancy is called SOS – sleep on the side. It’s best if you sleep on your left side.
Sleeping on your left side is best because it increases the number of nutrients and blood that are delivered to your baby and placenta.
If you have heartburn at night, try propping your upper body up with pillows. That helps to reduce the stomach acid that flows back upward your esophagus at night. Propping up your body also can help with shortness of breath.
How to Use Pregnancy Pillows?
1. Wedge Pregnancy PillowMany women love wedge pregnancy pillows, and they might be right for you if:
If you want an inexpensive option for pregnancy sleeping issues, try a wedge! Wedges come in two different shapes – circles and triangles.
Using wedges are very simple. All you have to do is put the wedge under the area that is giving you the most trouble. Then, relax and sleep well.
2. Full-Body Pillow
A full body pillow may be the right choice for you if you:
Using a full maternity body pillow is pretty easy. Just place the pillow on your bed and wrap your arms around it. The pillow needs to be close to your body, so find a comfortable position.
Full-length pregnancy pillows come in two styles: straight and flexible. Flexible pillows are better if you like to sleep in unique positions. Straight pillows are rigid and won’t conform to the position you prefer for sleeping.
Curious about using a c-shaped pregnancy pillow? They’re great for certain circumstances, such as:
Sleeping with a c-shaped pillow is pretty straightforward. Just put the pillow on your bed and spread out the shape so that you can move into the pillow. The curve of the C should be towards your back, and the top of the pillow needs to be at your head. Put the bottom of the pillow between your thighs.
So, when is a U shaped pillow the right choice for a pregnant woman? Pick this style of pregnancy pillow if you face any of these situations:
U-shaped pillows are very similar to c-shaped pillows, and they’re made to make it easier to move from side to side. To use a u-shaped pillow, you straddle one side of the pillow, cuddling up with it like a big stuffed animal. You can switch sides just by turning over.
You can also use a u-shaped pillow if you like to sleep on your back because it offers support on both sides. You can lean back against one of the sides of the pillow.
How do you know if an inflatable pillow is right for you? Consider these situations:
Sleeping with an inflatable pillow takes a bit of work. Pregnant women aren’t always known for being very graceful, and flopping on an inflatable pillow in the middle of your bed can be challenging. If you like to sleep on your stomach, it might be worth the effort to conquer Inflatable pillow.
An inflatable pillow is similar to an air mattress, and they usually come with a pump to make setting them up easier. Just use the included pump to inflate the pillow to the level you feel is most comfortable.
Once you inflate the pillow to what you feel is comfortable, climb up on the bed and gently lay on top of the pillow. Set your belly bump into the hole that is cut out of the pillow. The material might not be the most comfortable choice, so you might need to put a blanket over the pillow for more comfort.
Find a Pregnancy Pillow for You
As you can see, pregnancy pillows come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and each style has its own sets of benefits. If you’re a side sleeper, a c-shaped pregnancy pillow could be the right choice for you, and stomach sleepers need an inflatable pillow. Side and back sleepers can enjoy u-shaped pillows.
If you want to learn how to sleep better with a pregnancy pillow, give one a shot. Chances are you’ll get better at least trying to sleep with a pregnancy pillow than without one.