How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow and Finding the Right One for You
Being pregnant is a beautiful thing! Expecting a lovely baby after a few months can bring joy and excitement to the family. I remembered the first time I knew that I was pregnant. We were very thrilled with the news that we invited all our friends and neighbors and started a surprise “baby on the way” party.
But, the months of bearing a child can also be physically tiring, and I consistently experience having pains in my lower back and legs. I was suffering for several weeks and had a few sleepless nights. How would you sleep with all the cramps and aches in the legs accompanied by a throbbing feel on the lower back?
Then, I came across pregnancy pillows. I thought it was just any ordinary pillow but then other mothers recommend it, so I gave it a try. I was thinking how to use a pregnancy pillow properly and what to look for, so I did several some research.
In this post, you will find the information you will need to know about pregnancy pillows and how you can choose the right kind for you.
What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Pillows
What is a Pregnancy Pillow ?
A pregnancy pillow is a specially designed cushion to provide support to several parts of the body of a pregnant woman. It made of different materials and shapes to focus on tension points in the body and distribute even comfort for the mother.
During pregnancy, women experience several problems including body pains and sleep disturbances. These occurrences can create stress to the mother and may not be safe for the baby. It can be due to psychological reasons where women become anxious and worried about the future. It can also be caused by physiological reasons of digestive problems, swelling in the abdomen and pressures in the urinary bladder.
Pregnancy pillows serve as a supportive bolster for pregnant women to cuddle and rest their head, neck, belly, back, and legs. Different kinds of these pads address the various needs of the pregnant woman.
Two Kinds of Pregnancy Pillow
Maternal pillows are designed to lower the muscle tension of pregnant women during sleep. These pads slide under the back or the tummy, providing the needed support when sleeping.
A common type of maternal pillow is a wedge-shaped pillow that supports the bellies when sleeping on the side. Wedge pillows have two separate mobile parts that have little hooks attached so you can change its shape.
When using the wedge pregnancy pillow, tension from the lower back is diminished. It helps women sit and lie back on a comfortable body position. After giving birth, a lot of pregnant women are still using the maternal pillows. They use it to support their spine, so there is added comfort while recuperating from their delivery.
One of the major advantages of using a wedge pillow is the limited space it occupies in the bed. It means that you and your husband can still cuddle each other or have enough comfortable space to sleep.
Since most wedge pillows are also smaller in sizes, you can also bring it during travels. These pillows are perfect for resting the head when riding a car.
Full Body Pillow
Using this kind of pregnancy pillow can run all through the length of your body. It can support several parts of the body and can be a great pillow to cuddle.
Full body pillows come in various shapes and sizes, providing different focus points. While it can support other parts of the body, most of these pillows do not always support the back.
Different Shapes of Body Pillows
It can wrap around all over your body. The C-shaped pillow covers your head, belly or back, and legs. While resting these parts of your body, the pillow can help relieving muscle tensions. C-shaped pillows can also fit in a mid-sized bed.
Since it covers your body from top to bottom, there is no need to add one more pillow for the head or the legs. Most mothers also use the C-shaped pillow during breastfeeding. It supports the baby while also giving the mother added ease.
L-shaped pillows support your head or legs and belly or back. The tail on the cushion can be placed under the neck or head or to elevate your legs and feet. The long full length on the side can be moved to assist the belly or the back.
This kind of pillow is usually smaller so it can fit in most sizes of bed. It can also bend and twist for adjustments.
If you are looking for the most relaxing pregnancy pillow, you can put your attention to U-shaped pillows. Imagine a fluffy and huge horseshoe that you can hug in all sides. U-shaped pillows will surround your body when sleeping in it. It will support your head, back, belly and legs all at the same time. There is no need to adjust its position, twist or bend its tail or move it around the bed.
The only drawback to having a U-shaped pillow is the vast space it needs to occupy the bed. It will also go in between you and your husband.
When choosing a U-shaped pillow, the right size is important. Sizes are relative to your overall height. Too small may not fully support your legs but too big can have excess cushions not used. It can also drown you in it.
The size U-280 is a good choice for pregnant women with a height measuring to 160 cm. There is a guide to the right size and height relations so check first before buying.
Also known as bagel pillows, I-shaped pillows are long bolster pillows for pregnant women. It can relax your back or belly but will only give ease to one side of the body.
I-shaped pillows do not have any curves or tails and are in a full straight shape. However, it is longer compared to an ordinary pillow. It is perfect if you want an extra cushion to cuddle on the sides or support your back when sleeping.
The size of the I-shaped pillows also depends on your height. For instance, Bagel-170 is ideal for women who are 160cm tall while those who are taller can choose the I-190.
J-shaped pillows are like U-pillows but with one leg shorter than the other. It is also called a Big Pillow and can fit in a mid-sized bed.
The difference between a J-shaped pillow and a U-shaped pillow is their sizes. J-shaped pillows are smaller and more compact than the U-shaped pillow, and it can accommodate your child in the space above the shorter leg.
If you want something fun and unique for your pillow, the G-shaped pillows can be a good option. It can support your head and back while adding some luxury to your legs. The curled tail can wrap around your legs, giving it warmth and relief when sleeping. You can even rest your belly on the upper portion of the curled tail.
G-shaped pillows are huge and can take up a lot of bed space just like the U-shaped and the J-shaped. However, it is also ideal when you breastfeed or when you are sitting.
When using this kind of pillow, your body will reduce its muscle tension and prevent nerve endings jam and headaches. It also promotes a better blood flow in the body.
Different Types of Pillow Filling
Another huge factor in choosing a good pregnancy pillow is the filling it has inside. Various types of pillow filling have different characteristics that may or may not be suitable to your pregnancy situation. It is ideal to know the feature of these fillers to help you choose the best ones.
Hollow fiber filling
This type of filling has hollow spiral vertical fibers that create a springy effect when used. It is water and smell resistant and also hypoallergenic. The fibers are not attached through glue or adhesives but under a high-temperature.
Overtime, the hollow fiber filling does not lose its shape. It means that you can assure that it will last a long time.
Polystyrene foam or expanded polystyrene
Just like the hollow fiber filling, this type of filling is also hypoallergenic. It is also resistant to water as well as smells and odors. Polystyrene foams can also resist molds and germs. Washing through a washing machine is easy.
The difference is that the polystyrene foam does not spring and only adjusts to the contour of your body. It contains many tiny balls with a size of 1mm in diameter. However, take note that polystyrene can be more expensive and can make a sound when moved around.
This type of pillow filling is similar to polystyrene balls but is friendlier when sleeping. Microfiber filling does not make any noise when you move it around. It is also very lightweight, so it does not strain your hands or feet when lifting it.
A downside to using microfiber filling is its maintenance. This type of filling is not always machine washable so it helps if you have removable covers you can change regularly.
If you want your pillow to conform to your body, choose memory foam. It can hold its shape for a long time and can maintain its firmness. It is also machine washable.
However, memory foams can be warm on the body when the environment is too hot. It is not breathable unlike other types. Also, most memory foams are more expensive than other types of pillow filling.
Steps in Using the Pregnancy Pillows
How to use wedge pregnancy pillows
Step 1 – Position your pillow
Put the wedge pillow on the side of the bed where you will face when sleeping. Make sure it is directly under your belly.
When you want your pillow to support your head and neck, position it near your headboard where your pillow is. Add your regular pillow on top to elevate your head and neck. This type of angle is to relieve the body from heartburn or acid reflux.
Step 2 – Adjust the pillow
Depending what position you sleep, adjust your pillow to your most comfortable state when lying down. If you are lying on your side, you may want to place the thin portion of the wedge directly above your belly while the thicker part supports it. The same works with your back by using the thin part underneath your body.
How to use full body pregnancy pillows
Step 1 – Look for the right angle
Different shapes of the body pillow can create various sleeping angles, depending on how you sleep and where you are most relaxed. For instance, you can set the angle of a J-shaped pillow with the tail on top and the curved tail on the left.
When looking for the right angle, consider where you want to lie down and which side you will need to face. But, it may not be an issue if you are using a U-shaped pillow.
Know what part of your body will need it the most. Will you want more support on your back or your belly? Will you need your regular pillow on your head or from the pregnancy pillow itself?
Step 2 – Slip your hand under the pillow
Once in place, you can slip one hand under the pillow as well as your leg if necessary. You can also position your head to a convenient position and lie down on the bed.
When slipping your hand and legs under the pillow, you can do it as if you are hugging it tightly. It will help in supporting your chest and assist your belly to a more restful state.
Place the lower part of the pillow in between your legs to help in relaxing the muscles and relieving it of any tension especially on the knees and ankles.
Step 3 – Adjust the pillow
Now you may start adjusting your pillow. With particular types of pillow filling, you can create a bumpier part if you want extra support or wedge in your belly or back.
Make sure your entire body is at a comfortable mode without any annoying bulges on either side.
Extra Helpful Tips to Make Sleeping Easy with Pregnancy Pillows
Identify the reasons why you need a pregnancy pillow. It will help you decide which sizes, shapes, and types you want to buy. Look for your pressure points to help you identify the body parts that need the added support.
Choose comfort above all. Some pillows may be well advertised and recommended by other due to its brand, quality and look. While these factors are also crucial, you may want to consider the comfort level it can give you.
Make sure you choose the most comfortable pillow for you since the primary purpose is to help you relax when sleeping.
Consider your sleeping position. Are you regularly sleeping on your back or your sides? It will help you choose the perfect pillow shape that will support how you sleep.
What will your husband say? While we credit our husbands for being supportive, sometimes, cuddling you or feeling your body next to his is preferable than having a huge pillow in between you. You may want to consider a pillow that does not occupy a lot of space or only settles on one of your sides.
Alternate pregnancy pillows. Experts suggest that to use pregnancy pillows efficiently, you must also rotate the cushion height and size so as not to strain your body in one position. Also, as your pregnancy progress, the height of the pillow must be reduced to prevent discomfort.
Think safety for you and your baby matters. Read the labels and understand if the materials used are completely safe for you and your child. Make sure you are not allergic to the materials.
A comfortable rest and sleep are among the top wishes of pregnant women. It is important for them to attain a relaxing sleep to avoid stressing themselves and adding risks to their pregnancy.
I always want to feel the utmost comfort whenever I go to bed. The first months are okay, but as my belly starts to grow bigger, I was not always feeling restful at night. The pregnancy pillows helped me feel at ease when sleeping. It even soothes me to sleep.
Pregnancy pillows are very helpful when used right. Always remember to find the perfect pillow that will fit your needs.
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Have you tried using a pregnancy pillow? How was your experience? Leave your comment below now.