For many pregnant women, as their bumps continue to grow, it can become difficult to get much-needed rest. Those who may have been stomach or back sleepers before their pregnancy have to adjust their sleeping positions, which is not always easy to do.
Side sleeping, specifically left side sleeping, is recommended as the safest option, but that doesn’t necessarily equal the most comfortable option. Growing bellies need more support, particularly in the third trimester. You may also experience pregnancy-related hip and back pain, which can make side sleeping more difficult.
It’s not uncommon to find a sleeping pregnant woman propped up by a dozen smaller pillows — one under a hip, one between her knees, one under the bump, one cradled under her neck — in order to find the most comfortable position and actually get sleep. Fortunately, in recent years, pillows made specifically to support the expectant mother’s changing body have entered the market. Depending on their specific sleep needs, pregnant women have plenty of options to help them get comfortable and get that vital rest. One of the most important determinants of maternity pillow choices is height. This video about selecting the right body pillow helps clarify which body pillow size to go with.
What is the Best Maternity Pillow For Me?
Traditional Body Pillows - these resemble a really long king size pillow and can range in size from 20 x 48, 20 x 54, and 20 x 60 inch options. The advantage of these are they are much lower in price and give you knee and hip support as well as being able to rest your head on. If you are under 5’8" a 20 x 48 inch body pillow is perfectly good. If you are taller, opt for the 20 x 60 inch body pillow. There are also lots of good body pillow protectors available for purchase.
Pregnancy Wedge Pillow - these low-profile wedge pillows offer support to the growing bump while side sleeping, and can also be used between the knees for added support. These pillows are the size of a standard throw pillow, so they can also be used as back support while sitting or driving. They also won’t take up much space in your bed, which can’t be said for many of the other options. Covers and protectors for wedge pillows can be harder to find and expensive if customized.
C-Shaped Body Pillow - the large C shape surrounds the body, wrapping around the back, cradling the head and coming between the legs to provide support to hips and knees. This shape supports the many areas of the body that may ache during pregnancy so you can rest, and helps keep you in a safe side-sleeping position as it prevents rolling onto your back.
U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow - the U-shaped pillow offers many of the same benefits of the C-shaped pillow in terms of support and safety; however, many pregnant women appreciate the symmetry of the U-shape. The support is the same on either side and there is no need to turn or reposition the pillow if you flip to your opposite side while sleeping.
The C and U shaped pillows will definitely take up some real estate in your bed, which may be a consideration for you and your partner, but since you’re the one growing a human and getting the appropriate amount of sleep is vital to your health and your baby, hopefully your partner will be understanding. (In fact, many partners love these body pillows too!)
Other considerations to take into account are what the pillow is made of; do you prefer soft down-like polyester filling or ultra firm memory foam? Do you need hypoallergenic fill and easy to find protectors and covers? Also be sure to find pillows with removable, washable covers to keep laundry easy.
The right maternity pillow can mean the difference between fitful, sleepless nights and comfortable, restorative sleep for pregnant women who deal with a number of discomforts that can impede rest. If you have questions about which pillow is best suited to your specific needs and stages of your pregnancy, reach out to a Downlite expert for help.