Sleeping while pregnant is no easy feat. No matter how drowsy you are, it can be hard to fall asleep once you become conscious of your ever-growing bump. Maybe you constantly struggle to find the right position – or just feel downright uncomfortable. At times, you may even suffer from body pains. This is where pregnancy pillows can help.
Maternity pillows are carefully engineered to alleviate the discomfort of pregnancy, helping usher in a sound, uninterrupted sleep. They do this by supporting your body, including your head, front, and back. Not only do you sleep better, but you can also stop worrying about winding up in an unsafe position throughout the night. Here, we detail everything you need to know about choosing the best pregnancy pillow that will help you catch some Zs.
Pregnancy Pillows: What You Need to Know
Before stocking up on maternity pillows, make sure you have done your homework and know what to buy. Fortunately, you do not haveto spend hours and hours on the internet. We already did the grunt work for you.
First, acquaint yourself with the different types of pregnancy pillows, including their respective pros and cons. Second, you will need to know how to choose the best pillow that suits your needs. Finally, it helps to be familiar with the leading brands in the world of pregnancy pillows, including their product offerings.
What are the Different Types of Pregnancy Pillows?
The four most popular types of pregnancy pillows include C-shaped, U-shaped, snoogle, and wedge. Each differs in shape, size, and the level of support it provides.
1. C-Shaped Pregnancy Pillows
This maternity pillow comes in a unique C-shape to support the head, neck, back, hips, and knees. It is particularly useful when dealing with edema or fluid retention in the ankles and the legs.
To use, lay your head on top of the pillow, slide your back against the curve, then straddle the bottom of the C. Due to the C-shape, however, switching sides can be a hassle since you will have to flip the pillow each time you turn.
2. U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillows
This pregnancy pillow sports a U-shape for head-to-toe support. Specifically, it offers excellent back and belly support and is suitable for those who are used to sleeping on their back.
To use, rest your head on the top of the pillow and nestle your body in between the two sides. Afterward, slip your arm underneath the pillow. The U-shape enables you to effortlessly switch sides even without flipping the pillow. Just keep in mind that it can be bulky andtakes up a lot of space in the bed.
3. Pregnancy Snoogle Pillows
The Snoogle is not a type of pregnancy pillow per se. Instead, it refers to the patented and uniquely shaped pillow from a brand called Leachco. It sports a C-like shape for total body support and comes in varying types of fabric. What makes the Snoogle pillow special is that it is engineered to follow the natural contour of your body for superior comfort. At the same time, it also enables you to attain and maintain your desired position and height while you sleep. Best of all, it does not take up massive space on your bed.
4. Pregnancy Wedge Pillows
Among the four types, a pregnancy wedge pillow is the smallest and the most affordable. This tailored piece of foam is shaped like a wedge of cheese – hence, the name. It is designed to support a targeted area – typically your bump or back. This way, you can sleep on your side more comfortably.
To use, carefully slip the pillow under your pregnancy tummy. Alternatively, you can also tuck it behind your back to prevent you from rolling over, making it helpful for those who are used to sleeping on their backs. Some even use this tiny pillow to elevate their upper body or legs. Since a wedge can only hold up a specific area, however, you may still need additional pillows for full-body support.
How Do You Choose a Pregnancy Pillow?
There are several things to consider when buying a pregnancy pillow, but the most important ones include:
- Cover material
- Filling material
- Noise and smell
To decide, you will have to assess your needs, preferences, and sleeping arrangements, among others. Understanding each factor is key to making an informed decision on which pillow is most suitable for you.
Some pregnancy pillows are no larger than a regular pillow, while some are quite large and may run the length of your body. The size of the pillow, as you might have guessed, has a lot to do with the extent of support it can give. The bigger the pillow, the more body parts it can prop up.
Aside from that, you also need to consider how big your bed is and how much room you are willing to give up. If you are sleeping with your partner or if your bed is rather small, for example, buying outsized maternity pillows may be off the table.
Aside from size, the shape of the pillow is another important consideration. What shape you choose ultimately comes down to your needs and sleeping situation. Some maternity pillows are designed for overall body support, while others can only accommodate a specific area. Wedge pillows, for instance, are usually used under the bump. Meanwhile, if you are struggling with hip or back pain, total body pregnancy pillows may be a better choice.
3. Cover Material
The cover material affects how comfortable and how convenient the pillow is. If you get warm easily, opt for a cotton cover, which is breathable. Conversely, you might also want to steer clear of one made primarily of polyester, which tends to be quite thick. Preferably, the cover of the should also be removable and washable so you can keep the pillow clean and hygienic at all times. With that in mind, here are some of the most commonly used cover materials on pregnancy pillows.
- Cotton. All-natural, hypoallergenic, and free from synthetic materials, cotton is ideal for those with sensitivities and those who prefer a greener option. It is also breathable, stays cool against the skin, and is painless to clean. This material, however, can be expensive and may also wear thin over time.
- Polyester. Cheap and widely available, polyester is the perfect option for those on a tight budget. It can mimic the softness of cotton and barely absorbs any odor. Best of all, this material is easy to clean and maintain. The downside is that it can get noisy and may irritate extremely sensitive skin.
- Velvet. Typically made from synthetic and/or natural fibers, velvet boasts an ultra-soft texture and a luxurious look. Meaning, it can usher in a peaceful sleep while jazzing up the room. The drawback to this material is that it can be difficult to clean and may wear out quickly. It tends to be pricey as well.
- Velour. Usually made from cotton and/or synthetic materials, velour is a plush woven fabric that strongly resembles velvet – but at a much lower price point. It also has a soft-to-the-touch, extremely luxurious finish for maximum comfort. Like velvet, this material can also wear out with use and may be too warm during the hot summer months.
4. Filling Material
The filling material plays a huge role in how comfortable the pillow is and how much support it can provide. In other words, it directly impacts the overall quality of your sleep. Below, we list down the most common materials used as stuffing in pregnancy pillows.
- Polyester Fiber.Dirt cheap and lightweight, polyester fiberfill or poly-fill is a popular budget-friendly option. However, it clumps easily, requires frequent readjustments, and does not last a long time. This material also tends to absorb your body heat, causing it to run hot.
- Microbeads.Also referred to as uniform polymer particles, microbeads are breathable and remain cool at night. On top of that, it retains its shape well and is relatively quiet. Unfortunately, this material may emit a strong chemical smell and also tends to have a short life span.
- Memory Foam.Made using polyurethane and other chemicals, memory foam is known for offering excellent support. Another standout feature is that it holds its shape and does not rebound. Take note, though, that this material may release an overpowering chemical odor due to its composition.
Again, each filling or stuffing brings something to the table. You will just have to choose the material that matches your needs and provides ample support.
Generally, firm pillows are preferred over soft ones since they can provide better head and body support. Take note that varying levels of firmness exist – you will have to find the most optimal one for your needs and preferences. Incidentally, some pillows offer different firmness on either side so you can get the best of both worlds.
6. Noise and Smell
Some pillows, such as those with styrofoam fillings, tend to make a noise when you move. If you are a light sleeper, it can get bothersome. Likewise, some pillows may also emit a certain smell. If the pillow is packed with synthetic materials, for instance, you might detect a chemical scent as you snuggle close to it. Again, any unpleasant odors can interfere with your sleep, so make sure to avoid them if you have a sensitive nose.
What Are the Best Pregnancy Pillow Brands?
When it comes to safe, high-quality pregnancy pillows, you can never go wrong with PharMeDoc, Queen Rose, and Boppy. Here is a quick overview of each brand.
Since 2013, PharMeDoc has been releasing thoughtful products designed to improve their customers’ health and lifestyle. Specifically, they are devoted to providing the best sleep possible, and they do this by relying on the latest advancements in design, technology, and function. The brand’s diverse selection of U-shape and C-shape pillows fulfill these lofty visions – and more.
2. Queen Rose
Queen Rose is one of the most trusted brands in the realm of maternity pillows. They are committed to ensuring that every Momma can have superior sleep and smooth baby care experience. And with their premium U-shaped pregnancy pillows, drifting off to dreamland has never been easier. The result is a more enjoyable journey to motherhood.
Boppy is designed by moms – for moms. They understand how bumpy and scary motherhood can be, especially without adequate support. In response, they have created products that are meant to make the process a little easier. The brand’s multifunctional pregnancy pillows, for instance, ensure that you won’t have to endure another sleepless night ever again.
Pregnancy Pillow FAQs
Can You Use a Regular Body Pillow During Pregnancy?
Using standard body pillows during pregnancy is generally ill-advised. That is because these pillows may not provide the necessary support to a pregnant woman’s changing body, resulting in discomfort and body aches.
Are Pregnancy Pillows Worth It?
Pregnancy pillows may seem like an unnecessary expense at first. It is in the later stages of pregnancy when their value will become truly apparent. During that time, finding a comfortable position can be challenging due to the sheer weight of your bump. With a quality pregnancy pillow, you will get support where you need it the most, reducing pains and ushering in a restful night. And when you are stress-free and in good shape, then you are more likely to welcome a beautiful, healthy baby.
When Should You Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow?
The short answer: anytime you want. You can start using a pregnancy pillow as early as the first trimester. Alternatively, you can also pick it up at around twenty weeks into your pregnancy, which is when the belly begins expanding. In general, it is best to use a maternity pillow once you start feeling uncomfortable during sleep.
What Is the Most Comfortable Sleeping Position for Pregnant Women?
Sleeping on your left side is the best sleeping position during pregnancy. If you are unused to it, then it might not be the most comfortable position at first. But with a reliable total body pillow, you will get used to it in no time.
For obvious reasons, you should not sleep flat on your tummy. Sleeping on your back is also not recommended as it might press on a major blood vessel, compromising the blood supply to your baby.
Pregnancy Pillows for Better Sleep and Ultimate Comfort
Pregnancy can be a bumpy ride. Even though your baby is still growing inside you, you might already start getting sleep-derived. Even worse, you may also suffer from body pains, drastically lowering the quality of your daily life. But there is no need to give in to such torment. With a pregnancy pillow, you can reduce persistent aches and have cozy, undisturbed slumbers. Furthermore, they are also available in different types, sizes, shapes, and materials to address your specific concerns.