For many women, insomnia can be a serious issue when they have a baby on the way. However, the right pregnancy pillow can help make sure they get the sleep they need to stay both healthy and well-rested during this wonderful time.
There’s arguably nothing more beautiful than those nine months of pregnancy leading up to childbirth. You’re looking forward to finally holding your little one in your arms, your nursery is all set up and ready to welcome your child, and… oh yeah, you’ve suddenly lost your ability to sleep through the night.
Yep. Even though being pregnant can be an incredibly exciting time, it can also mean that you’re now tossing and turning all night long. Does this mean that you’re going to have insomnia for the entire time? Will you ever be able to fall asleep – and stay asleep – again? And most importantly: what can actually be done about it?
What Is A Pregnancy Pillow?
Owing to your ever-changing hormones during this period of your life, feeling restless at night is pretty normal. However, it’s understandable to not want to take any medicine to treat your insomnia, especially since you don’t know whether it will affect your developing baby.
That’s where pregnancy pillows step in. These awesome little inventions can have big results on your sleepless nights. Even better, they’re also pretty much 100% safe, which means that you don’t have to worry about if they’re going to hurt your little one if you use them. In fact, the only real risk of purchasing a pregnancy pillow for yourself is getting seriously ticked off that you didn’t grab one for yourself sooner.
But what exactly is a pregnancy pillow? What sets it apart from the usual pillows that tend to adorn your bed at night? Well, other than the fact that they’ve been specifically designed for pregnant women – often by doctors, nurses, and pediatricians – they can afford an expectant mother the support she needs to settle into her bed at night and finally feel comfortable.
In short, a pregnancy pillow is a particular type of pillow that was literally invented for women just like you. As your baby starts to grow inside your belly, your body will undergo changes. They’ll seem subtle at first, and you may even start to wonder if you’re just imagining them. However, as your pregnancy progresses and you move from your first trimester into your second and third, those changes are not going to be quite so subtle anymore.
In fact, they may even start to seem downright obnoxious and even pretty dang annoying. For instance – and this may seem like stating the obvious here – your belly is going to start to get bigger. Inch by inch, it’s going to slowly start to expand in order to accommodate your growing child. You may also start to notice other changes, like your hips feeling fuller and your chest getting heavier as your body prepares to start developing milk.
This can lead to new aches and pains, especially as the pressure and gravity start to bear down on you. To help keep that discomfort at bay, you’ll need a pregnancy pillow to support those growing and changing parts of your body. Now, it’s important to note that there’s not just one type of pregnancy pillow out there. These awesome little secret weapons for a good night’s rest can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, lengths… the list goes on.
Whether you’re a side sleeper, a back sleeper, or you like to sleep sitting upright (which can be great for that heartburn that’s oh-so-common during pregnancy!), there’s a pregnancy pillow for you. However, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by your choices, as there are probably thousands of different brands out there and it can be daunting to try to pick the best one out. But don’t worry – I’ve hand-picked my absolute favorites, just for you!
Different Types Of Pregnancy Pillows
Are you a side sleeper? A back sleeper? A “fell asleep standing up in the kitchen while waiting for a cup of decaf coffee to finish brewing” kind of sleeper? No matter what position you prefer to sleep in, there’s the perfect pregnancy pillow out there with your name on it.
Pregnancy Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows, or maternity cushions, are probably the smallest type of pregnancy pillow on the market. Just because they’re small, though, doesn’t mean they’re not mighty. These pillows can lend amazing support for your growing belly, and you can even keep using them even after your baby arrives. Using them is a breeze, too, and super straightforward. All you have to do is simply slide it beneath your stomach when you lay down in bed. Or, if you prefer, you can brace it up against your back. If you like, you can always use two wedge pillows at night (like I do), one for your belly and one for your back.
Full-Length Pregnancy Pillow
If you’re a snuggler at heart, then you’re going to love using a full-length pregnancy pillow. They were designed for cuddling right up against them, and they’re just the ticket to help you get those forty winks you deserve at night. They’re longer in length compared to wedge pillows, lending support and cushioning to your entire body.
That said, you’re not going to want to use them to brace your back at night, as they’re not supportive enough to be used behind you. Don’t let that deter you from reaching for these pillows, though, as you can totally slide them between your legs to help improve circulation at night.
Sort of like the full-length pregnancy pillow, these pillows are also longer in length. Unlike the full-length pillows, though, these tend to be thinner and curved in shape. Arguably the most versatile type of pregnancy pillows, these aren’t bulky at all, and you can easily arrange them into any position you desire. Want to support your belly while in bed? Simply lay it out along your body and prop your stomach onto it. Are your hips aching when you sleep? Slip the curve of the pillow between your thighs to give yourself a little extra padding. And yes, if you just feel like cuddling with it, there’s nothing wrong with that.
These pillows share a lot in common with the c-shaped pillows, but there are a few subtle differences that set them apart. If you’re typically a back sleeper, but your bigger belly is now making that impossible, then you’re going to want to take this pillow to bed with you. It supports your entire body, head to toe. When you lay down at night, feel free to tuck this pillow beneath your head. Continue to press it up against other parts of your body for cushioning, too. It also can be slid between your knees to take the strain off your hips when you sleep, sending those aches and pains packing.
How To Choose A Perfect Pregnancy Pillow?
Depending on your needs and the position you prefer to sleep in, there’s actually a fairly wide number of different factors you’ll need to consider before springing for a pregnancy pillow. After all, you don’t want to invest in a seemingly well-reviewed pillow, get all excited about waiting for it to arrive, unpack it and put it on your bed… only to find out that it’s not the right one for you. That’s what makes picking out the right pregnancy pillow so tricky, really. While there are probably some pretty inferior ones out there, the issue isn’t so much that the pillow itself is bad. It just means that you didn’t find the one that works best for your needs. So why buy one, take it home and completely hate it?
The right one is out there, waiting patiently for you to find it. But there are a few things that would help make the entire task of picking out your new pregnancy pillow a fuss-and-tear-free process. The three big things that you would want to keep in mind are its shape, its size, and the material used in its construction. While they may not seem that important at a glance, don’t dismiss them outright or underestimate how much these things matter. The fact is, they’ll make all the difference between tossing and turning all night long and actually getting the beauty rest you deserve. Let’s go ahead and break down these considerations, okay?
- Shape. As we’ve already kind of touched on, pregnancy pillows come in several different shapes, like the wedge and the u-shape. Depending on where you need the support the most, and where the majority of the discomfort is bugging you, you’ll want to keep this in mind. Need it to brace your belly while you sleep on your side? Then the wedge might be the best fit for you. Want to tuck it between your legs and underneath your neck? A full-length c-shaped pillow might be better.
- Their size. Just like these pregnancy pillows can vary in shape, there’s also a bunch of differences in their sizes. You already know the wedge pillow is the smallest of the lot, but that doesn’t mean it’s a design flaw. Some mommas-to-be won’t want a full-sized pillow hogging all of their bed, after all. So before you click “buy” on a pillow, ask yourself a few questions first. Do you only need a little extra support for your belly? Is your bed on the smaller side? Do you want to snuggle the heck out of it? These answers will guide your purchase decision.
- Their material. Last, but certainly not least, you need to think about the materials used in the pillow before you buy one. A lot of pregnant women tend to run hot at night, thanks to those hormones racing through their body, and the wrong pillow can be a sweaty nightmare. Silk is nothing short of luxurious and super breathable, but it can be pretty fussy to keep it clean. Cotton won’t overheat you, but it doesn’t wick very well, either, so it’ll get clammy if you sweat on it (yuck). And polyester is a cinch to wash and on the more affordable side, but it definitely runs hot.
The Best Pregnancy Pillows To Buy In 2023
Buying a pregnancy pillow for yourself just might be the best gift you can possibly get during this stage of your life. No matter what type you’re looking for, though, I’ve broken down the best ones you could find. That way, you can feel confident that the one you ultimately decide to get is the one that’ll help put your insomnia to rest – both literally and figuratively!
Pregnancy Wedge Pillow
If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to dive head-first into bigger pregnancy pillows just yet, then this wedge pillow by Hiccapop is the perfect starter one. Now, that doesn’t mean it won’t be the pillow that you use through all three trimesters. You just might fall head over heels in love with it from the moment you place it on your bed. With its velvety-soft cover, this memory foam pillow has a unique two-sided design, with one side being firmer than the other. Unlike other pillows, which can run hot, this one boasts a special ventilation technology. And with its affordable price point, what’s stopping you from grabbing two?
Full-Length Pregnancy Pillow
There’s something about having that familiar cushioning only a pillow can provide that can take your comfort to the next level. This extra-long pregnancy pillow by Awesling is the full-body hug that my body craved for during those long months when I was waiting for my baby to arrive. At a whopping sixty inches in length, this fully-adjustable pillow can support your neck, back, belly, and even your legs. Incredibly soft and plush, it’s also double-stitched for extra durability and comes with a bonus 45-degree ergonomic angle pillow. Don’t think you have to kiss it goodbye when the baby arrives, either. It can also be used as you recover from childbirth.
There are c-shaped pregnancy pillows, and then there’s the Snoogle. This is the pillow that inspired all of the other copycats out there, but I really can’t blame them. The Snoogle will actually replace all of your other pillows, making it a very smart investment in your comfort. And you know it’s legit, as it was developed by a mom and a registered nurse. For those expectant mothers out there who run hot, you won’t sweat over this one. Its custom-patented design was actually made to help prevent those uncomfortably warm nights. However, if you do get it dirty, no biggie. Just slide the cover off and throw it in the wash.
There’s nothing worse than laying down for the evening, only to find that your back and your hips are aching like there’s no tomorrow. The solution? This u-shaped pillow by PharMeDoc. Unlike other pregnancy pillows, which can stifle you when you’re sleeping, this one disperses heat to keep you cool all night long. At fifty-three inches long, its contours will support your entire body in its cozy embrace. Feel free to slip it beneath your back or your belly or your knees. No matter how you use it, it’ll be your new bedtime BFF. And since it is machine washable, you don’t have to worry about icky germs making you or your growing baby sick.