How to Sleep With a Pregnancy Pillow
If you find that you’re struggling to sleep while pregnant, then you can benefit from using a pregnancy pillow.
They’re a uniquely designed pillow that helps provide extra support where you need it.
Some areas include your upper and lower back, hips, legs, and belly.
If you’ve never used one before, then you may need to learn how to sleep with a pregnancy pillow.
We’ll guide you through the process and show you how you can effectively use a maternity pillow to help relieve tension and stress in your body.
Why Is It Hard to Sleep While Pregnant?
If you think you’re the only one having a hard time sleeping while pregnant, you might find comfort in knowing that it’s actually quite common.
Pregnancy is a time when the body is going through many physical changes.
The body is doing its absolute best to adjust to the hormonal switches, growing of the belly, and managing extra weight.
Here are a few underlying issues that make it harder to sleep while pregnant:
1. Change in Hormones
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes, one being a change in hormone levels.
The specific hormone that is associated with sleep is progesterone, which often spikes later into the pregnancy.
As such, pregnant women often feel sleepier and like their muscles can’t relax, as well as have vivid dreams.
2. Burning Sensation in Chest
Another significant change is found in a pregnant woman’s digestive system.
As your body progresses in pregnancy, it will do its best to deliver food and nutrients to your baby.
While this is a lovely process, it may also give you some indigestion because your body is working in overdrive.
Painful burning sensation in either the chest or the esophagus may contribute to inadequate or low-quality sleep.
By propping your body up, you may be able to alleviate some of the pain.
What’s more, as the pregnancy reaches the third trimester, the baby can push up against your stomach, resulting in even more discomfort.
Sleeping on your side may be able to help you sleep more comfortably.
3. Tension and Stress
As the body changes drastically during pregnancy, it can be stressful for both your mental health and physical health.
In fact, most pregnant moms experience anxiety, stress, and tight muscles.
Thinking about the pains of labor, the baby's health, and raising a child are just some of the worries that can make falling asleep more difficult.
During times like these, it is important to remember that sleep can help lower your stress and anxiety.
It may sound cliché, but getting good sleep is indeed what can help alleviate these symptoms.
Being able to invest in a pregnancy pillow can help you feel more comfortable and rested.
How Can I Sleep Comfortably While Pregnant?
Being pregnant can be a confusing yet exciting time.
In nine months, you’ll have a new addition to your family.
One of the last problems you should have when you're pregnant is lousy sleep.
It can become frustrating to toss and turn only to find that no position is comfortable enough for you to stay asleep.
One route you could take is to use extra pillows to help prop up your body and prevent you from moving.
However, you’ll find that these pillows often slip and slide as you move during the night.
So, these wouldn’t be as effective as a maternity pillow.
This is why we highly recommend investing in a good-quality pregnancy pillow instead.
These are professionally designed by physicians and provide adequate support and comfort at the same time.
However, you will need to choose between either a full-length, G-shape, U-shape, or C-shape pregnancy pillow.
1. Using a Full-Length Pregnancy Pillow
A full-length pregnancy pillow is an excellent choice for those suffering from either head, belly, or knee pain.
This type of pillow is shaped as such to provide extra support in these areas and will contour to the shape of your entire body while you sleep.
So, how do you know if a full-length pillow is right for you?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you mainly sleep on your side?
- Do you tend to stay on your side while you sleep?
- Do you have enough room on your bed for a full-length pillow?
If your answer is yes to all three of these pillows, we’re confident that you’d benefit from investing in a full-length pregnancy pillow.
2. Using a C-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
A C-shaped pregnancy pillow, as you can imagine, is shaped like the letter C.
It contours to your entire body and is designed to help side sleepers.
Its C shape also makes it perfect for those suffering from knee pain, stomach pain, and neck pain.
So, how do you know if a C-shaped pillow is right for you?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you frequently suffer from upper and lower back pain?
- Do you often wish that you need full-body support?
- Do you stay in one position while you sleep?
If your answer is yes to all three of these pillows, then you’ll likely enjoy sleeping with a C-shaped pregnancy pillow.
3. Using a U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
On the other hand, a U-shaped pillow is suitable for back and side sleepers.
This type of pillow resembles a horseshoe shape and cups your entire body.
This is an excellent versatile pillow for those who change sleeping positions while asleep.
So, how do you know if a U-Shaped pillow is right for you?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you often move around during the night?
- Do you wish you had full-body support?
- Do you find yourself either in a side or back sleeping position?
If your answer is yes to all three of these pillows, then a U-shaped pregnancy pillow might just be what you need.
4. Using a J-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
One other option you have is a J-shaped pillow, which is more focused on supporting your lower body.
These are excellent for side sleepers and are suitable for when you’re in the third trimester of your pregnancy.
Many women experience lower body pain as their belly grows, and having support on your joints and knees can help reduce pain and tension.
So, how do you know if a J-Shaped is right for you?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you frequently have aching knees or legs?
- Do you feel tension on your lower back?
- Do you often sleep on your side?
If your answer is yes to all three of these pillows, then what you need is a J-shaped pregnancy pillow.
How Do You Sleep With a Maternity Pillow?
Learning how to sleep with a pregnancy pillow requires you to first decide between the three types.
J-shaped pillows are suitable for side-sleepers who need extra lower back and leg support.
On the other hand, U-shaped pillows are generally better for upper back and belly support.
Lastly, C-shaped pillows are ideal for side sleepers who need back and belly support.
To use a maternity pillow, you will need to position the top of the pillow behind your head.
After that, make sure the headrest is adjusted so that it contours to your back and belly.
Lastly, you can then adjust the lower half of the pillow between your knees for lower joint support.
Do Pregnancy Pillows Really Help?
A simple answer to this is yes.
Pregnancy pillows really do help you get a better night’s rest.
However, if you have underlying health problems that cause pain, then they may only reduce your symptoms.
Pregnancy pillows are professionally designed by physicians and tested by moms, which is how you know that they will work.
Medical professionals have tested and taken the time to perfect the design of maternity pillows, so you can be sure that they are effective at reducing joint pain and providing extra support where you need it most.
When Should You Start Sleeping With a Pregnancy Pillow?
On average, most women start using a pregnancy pillow by the end of their second trimester.
It’s also highly recommended to use them during your third trimester as your belly will be at its largest size.
Although, you don’t have to wait until the second trimester of your pregnancy to use a pregnancy pillow.
In reality, even non-pregnant women can use them.
People who suffer from joint pain, sleep apnea, and other aches and pains may find that this type of pillow can help them sleep better.
How to Choose a High-Quality Pregnancy Pillow
As much as we’d like to say that every company crafts its pillows with love and care, some still do produce low-quality options.
Knowing how to filter these pillows out can help you select one that lasts throughout your pregnancy and then some more.
Here are some of the following criteria you should keep an eye out for:
1. Filling Type
The filling of a pillow is one of the most crucial factors to look at when it comes to how it feels and how long it will last.
A good pillow filling is either made from fiber or polystyrene foam.
These two types are both hypoallergenic and resistant to odors; plus, they can also be put into the washer if necessary.
Additionally, the right filling type also prevents clumping and adds to the durability of the pillow.
The only downside to this is that they tend to be a bit more expensive.
Nevertheless, they are worth the investment.
The weight of the pillow can actually make a significant impact on how you feel.
We highly suggest getting a lightweight pregnancy pillow.
Not only will these be easier to move and store but also be less stiff on your joints.
Most lightweight pillows include styrofoam balls.
3. Pregnancy Pillow Size
Often, we find that people overlook the size of the pillow.
For women who are around five feet and six inches, we recommend pillows that are at least six feet long.
On the other hand, if you’re taller than that, you should use pillows that are eight feet or longer.
The reason for this is that pregnancy pillows curve, which is why you need a bit of extra length.
4. Material Type
Lastly, you need to check what type of material the fabric is made out of.
If you happen to heat up at night, we recommend finding a polyester or cotton pillow.
These fabrics are breathable and will keep you cool and fresh as you sleep.
Other Types of Pregnancy Pillows
Other types of pregnancy pillows you may find are wedge or inflatable pregnancy pillows.
Wedge-type pillows are only useful for either propping you up in your sleep or propping you up on your side.
As such, they are suitable for people who stay in one place or who suffer from neck pain or heartburn.
On the other hand, inflatable pregnancy pillows are only useful if you’re planning on taking it on the go.
These pillows conveniently deflate and take up minimal space.
However, they don’t have the best support and usually don’t come with removable covers.
Pregnancy Pillow FAQs
Q: Can I use a pregnancy pillow even if I’m not pregnant?
Yes, you can still use a pregnancy pillow even if you aren’t pregnant.
These pillows are designed to help take the pressure off of your joints and support your body as you sleep.
This can be useful for people with injuries, tension, or just someone who needs extra support when they sleep.
Q: Will pregnancy pillows flatten out over time?
For the most part, many pregnancy pillows are designed to last at least through the last few months of your pregnancy.
Some can even last longer, but they will eventually start to flatten out.
You should look for firmer pregnancy pillows if you want it to last for years.
Q: Do pregnancy pillows come with extra covers?
No, most pregnancy pillows only come with one cover.
You may be able to find extra covers manufactured by certain brands, but we recommend contacting the company if you need a replacement.
The only downside is that they tend to be a bit pricey, but it's worth it if yours has ripped.
How to Sleep With a Pregnancy Pillow: Final Thoughts
Pregnancy is a scary time for many women, especially if it's their first time.
Good sleep can help reduce the number of issues that pregnancy causes, such as heartburn, body aches, and stress.
A pregnancy body pillow can help you get that restful night of sleep and keep you fully supported while you’re lounging.
Just be sure to follow our guide and find the right type of maternity pillow for you.
Once you’ve done that, go ahead and share with other soon-to-be moms what you've learned so that they can sleep well, too!