Saying that pregnancy is difficult is really an understatement. The hormonal changes, insomnia, heat waves, and moods are all a nightmare. But the aches and pains you get when pregnant make pregnancy that much more difficult.
According to Medical News Today, about 32% of pregnant women suffer hip pain at some point during pregnancy. That is nothing compared to the 50% who suffer severe back pain during and after pregnancy. But as it turns out, you can avoid these pains by sleeping and sitting in the right posture.
Pregnant women sleep on their side during the last two trimesters because it’s the only safe position. The problem with side sleeping is that your knees knock together, and your hips shift out of alignment with the spine and pelvic area. The baby’s weight makes this muscle pulling and misalignment even worse, causing hip and back pain.
How do you prevent this? A knee pillow.
A knee pillow is made of memory foam and is ergonomically designed with two round notches where your legs will slide in. It also has a strap to secure the pillow in place while you are sleeping. Ideally, you should put the knee pillow between your legs when side sleeping to separate your knees and lift the upper leg slightly, so it’s aligned to the spine. And since the pillow is memory foam, it slowly conforms to the shape of your leg and fits you perfectly.
Knee Pillow Benefits
A knee pillow benefits anybody who sleeps on their side or back and wakes up with back and hip pain. However, it’s more important for pregnant women because the baby weight puts more pressure on the ligaments and muscles.
1. Improve Spinal Alignment
Again, sleeping on your side causes your hips to move out of alignment with the spine, and this is what causes hip pain. Placing a pillow between your knees puts back that alignment by lifting your upper leg. It also means your back doesn’t twist forward, especially since baby weight pulls the belly down. Without spinal misalignment, the chances of back and hip pain are greatly reduced.
2. Promotes Blood Flow
If you’ve ever slept on your arm, you should be familiar with the numb sensation you wake up to. This is the same thing that happens when you put too much pressure and weight on one leg. Side sleeping presses the upper leg onto the lower one and forces all the body’s weight onto it. Placing a knee pillow between the legs separates them and reduces pressure, which helps with blood flow.
If you sleep on your back, putting a pillow underneath your knees can also elevate them to your heart’s level and improve circulation. Besides waking up without numb legs, a knee pillow also helps alleviate the chances of developing varicose veins in pregnancy. These are caused by the inadequate blood supply to the legs, so you will be killing two birds with one stone.
3. Improve Breathing Issues
A rarely talked about condition in pregnancy is sleep apnea. This is when you momentarily stop breathing in your sleep several times in one night. The near-death experience obviously wakes you up and seriously affects your sleep quality. While a CPC machine is recommended for severe sleep apnea, you can start by sleeping in a way that opens up your airways.
Doctors recommend sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees to align your spine and posture. Elevate your body as well, and your breathing will be fine.
4. Keeps You from Rolling Over
The secret to a comfortable and pain-free pregnancy is good posture. This requires your ears, shoulders, and hips to be well aligned, even if you are not sleeping on your side. During the early days of pregnancy, you can get away with sleeping on your back, but a pillow under your knee will help add comfort and alignment.
However, the second and last trimesters pose challenges that force you to sleep on your side. And since sleeping in one position all night is not normal for most, you need something to keep you from rolling back or forward. A knee pillow can help with that, though we recommend you get another one for your back and belly.
Do Knee Pregnancy Pillows Help with Knee and Leg Pain?
It’s not surprising that pregnant women would suffer from knee and leg pain. Pregnancy is like carrying heavy luggage every day for nine months, which can strain your legs. But weight isn’t the only issue. The hormone relaxin is produced to loosen pelvic ligaments for birth and other body parts. Add baby weight to already weak joints, and you can see how leg and knee pain happens.
Thankfully, you can give your legs a break from the weight when you are home by elevating them while sitting down and putting a pillow between or under your knew when sleeping. This takes the pressure off for a while and allows the legs to rest and recover for the next day.
How to Sleep with A Knee Pillow?
For side sleeping;
- Curl your legs slightly towards your chest
- Place a knee pillow between your knees and inner calf
- Secure the strap
- If your body feels like it’s sinking into the mattress, add a flat pillow under your torso to straighten your spine.
For back sleeping;
- Lay flat on your back
- Bend your knee slightly without moving your feet or buttocks
- Slide the knee pillow under your knees.
Best Knee Pillow for Pregnancy
The Luna Orthopedic Knee Pillow is the best for pregnancy because it’s designed to provide maximum support and comfort and relieve sciatica, hip and back pain, and knee pain. It is made of premium memory foam, and it’s ergonomic, soft, and responsive.
We love that it comes with a machine washable cover that you can toss in the wash anytime. In addition, the cover features longer silkier fibers that allow maximum airflow to keep the pillow cool all night long. It’s also really affordable for that quality and easily portable.
Mama, this pillow can really help you with pain relief! By elevating your legs when sitting or placing it between or under your knees when sleeping, you can give yourself some much-needed comfort.
So if you’re looking for a way to get more restful sleep during your pregnancy, you should definitely consider investing in a good quality knee pillow.