A pregnant woman goes through a lot of changes within nine months, and sometimes those changes can be uncomfortable. One common problem is difficulty sleeping. There can be many reasons for this.
Some pregnancy issues, like late-night potty breaks, can’t be helped, but others, from aches and pains to heartburn, can frequently be eased with help from a pregnancy pillow. They may not be able to solve all your problems, but pregnancy pillows are a way to ease many symptoms without the need for medication.
Our goal is to help expectant mothers find ways to relieve pain. Pregnancy pillows can help mothers adjust how they sleep to promote their health and their baby’s health as they go through these new changes.
So how do you use a pregnancy pillow? It turns out that it depends on your pillow type and what you need it for.
Why Should I Use a Pregnancy Pillow?
There is a wide range of reasons to use a pregnancy pillow. Some expectant mothers are fine with everyday pillows, at least in the beginning, but as a mom’s belly begins growing, a pregnancy pillow can be very helpful.
The most common reason to use a pregnancy pillow is to help support the bump while sleeping. In the first trimester, this isn’t typically a problem. But, once you reach the second or third trimester, supporting the baby bump can help relieve back pain and other issues.
Heartburn is another common reason for people to use some types of pregnancy pillows. Sometimes the uterus can press into the stomach, causing acid to come up the throat (acid reflux). It usually is a burning sensation in the chest and throat.
Why Is It Important for Me Not to Sleep on My Back?
Pregnancy pillows can also help if you have trouble staying on your side when you sleep. People have different sleeping styles. Some people may shift to their backs, sides, or stomachs. Since stomach sleeping is usually out of the question, unless you use a pillow specifically made for it, you may end up sleeping on your back or side.
Back sleeping ranks right up there as a favored sleeping position. Whether you move around a lot or just a little bit, you’ll probably end up on your back at some point at night. Although this is normal for people, during pregnancy, it isn’t the best idea.
It’s okay for you to end up on your back sometime during the night, but it’s recommended that you start out sleeping on your left side to promote blood flow to the uterus. Sleeping on your back, on the other hand, means that the weight from the baby presses down on blood vessels.
This compression decreases the amount of blood that flows into your uterus. It can also cause lightheadedness and feelings of illness or nausea. A pregnancy pillow can help you sleep on your left side a little better.
What Types of Pregnancy Pillows Are There?
There are six kinds of pregnancy pillows. The pillow you choose will depend on what you need it for and which one allows you the most comfort.
Before you pick a pillow, you need to consider how you sleep. If you get hot at night, you should consider a smaller pillow or pillows made without synthetic fabrics.
1. The Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows are the smallest type of pregnancy pillow. They’re higher on one side than the other, allowing you to put the lower part underneath your belly to support the baby bump.
You can find wedges in either a circle or a triangle. They’re versatile, small, and provide more localized support.
2. Full-Length Pillows
A full-length pillow is essentially a long, rounded pillow. It’s one of the more versatile pregnancy pillows since it can be adjusted or placed wherever best suits your needs. It can support your baby bump and is suitable for women who sleep on their sides.
If you choose a full-length pillow, there are two options that you can pick from. There are flexible pillows or straight pillows. Straight pillows don’t conform to other shapes since they’re more rigid.
3. Inflatable Pillows
Inflatable pillows are the only pregnancy pillows that can help people sleep on their stomach. They’re basically like air mattresses, but they have holes around the area where the baby bump is. All you need to do is inflate it and put it on top of your mattress.
An inflatable pillow isn’t always recommended, so you should probably discuss it with your doctor.
4. The C-Shaped Pillow
If you’re looking for a pillow that can provide support all around, you may want to consider a C-shaped pillow. Its shape supports your back with extra cushioning to better cradle your baby bump and your head.
5. The J-Shaped Pillow
A J-shaped pillow is like a full-length pillow but with a curve at the top. It’s basically shaped like a candy cane. These pillows would be easier to use in smaller spaces but still can provide the support that you might need.
6. The U-Shaped Pillow
If you put two J-shaped pillows together, you get a U-shaped pillow. These pillows take up the most space, but their arms can be adjusted to suit your needs. They can also provide support all around.
Why Use a Pregnancy Pillow?
1. To Help With Back Pain
Back pain is a common issue among expectant mothers. It can be difficult to adjust to the baby’s weight, which causes pain in the lower back. To relieve the pain, at least while you’re sleeping, you should use the pillow to support the bump.
If you have one of the longer pillows and not just a wedge, you can also put the pillow between your legs. It helps the pillow to support the baby bump, alleviating some of the weight.
2. To Help With Pelvic Pain
Another common issue among pregnant women is pelvic pain, which can sometimes bother you while sleeping. If you purchase one of the longer pregnancy pillows, you can place part of it between your legs, which should help provide a little relief and comfort.
3. To Support the Bump
Even if you aren’t suffering from back pain, baby bumps can feel weird to sleep with. The weight can make shifting difficult, and it can be difficult to get comfortable. With a pillow underneath the bump, it can help even things out.
4. To Help With Hip Pain
Placing the pregnancy pillow between your knees can help to relieve hip pain. They can do this by keeping your legs parallel instead of crossed. Keeping a pregnancy pillow between your knees can help with many types of weight-related pain.
5. To Help With Heartburn and Acid Reflux
A wedge-pregnancy pillow is a great way to prop yourself up while you are sleeping. Sleeping propped up can help reduce the discomfort if you're suffering from heartburn. It’s a way to allow gravity to do most of the work for you.
6. To Prevent You From Rolling Over
If you’re having trouble staying on your side when you sleep and you’re waking up feeling lightheaded, a pregnancy pillow can help. A C-shaped pillow, a U-shaped pillow, or even a J-shaped or full-length pillow can be used to help gently guide you to sleep on your side.
With a C or U-shaped pillow, you can just climb in, but a full-length or J-shaped pillow will need to be placed along your back.
When Will I Need a Pregnancy Pillow?
There are many reasons that an expectant mother might need a pregnancy pillow. Don’t wait until weight-related issues pop up. You may also be able to avoid a few of them (like heartburn) if you start using a pregnancy pillow early.
You probably won’t need a pregnancy pillow in your first trimester since you won’t be showing just yet. However, once you reach 20 weeks, a pregnancy pillow will be able to help better support your little baby bump.
You will need a pregnancy pillow up until birth, although there are other uses for a pregnancy pillow even after you give birth. They can be used to rest your baby and your arms when you’re feeding your little one.
Finding Ways To Stay Comfortable
Pregnancy isn’t always the easiest experience. It can lead to sleepless nights, aches, and heartburn. However, it’s all worth it for that little life growing in your womb. A pregnancy pillow is a great way to help you stay comfortable without the need for medication.
With a wide range of pillows to choose from, you should be able to find something that works for you. Look for pregnancy pillows that are small or those that can essentially surround you with a pillow to help cuddle your growing belly.
Compare fabrics. There are also many different fabric types that you can try since some fabrics can make people feel hot, while others have more cooling properties. Pregnancy pillows can make it much easier to sleep while you're pregnant. All it takes is a little adjusting to find your comfort zone.
Look to The Mommy Care Kit for pregnancy support.