The body of a pregnant undergoes increased stress and works in its enhanced mood. It is very important to have a night’s sleep of full value, which would help to restore and accumulate your energy.
Lack of sleep and bad sleep cause irritation, exhaustion, and nervous breakdown. Pregnant women know that the more their bellies, the more difficult it is to find a comfortable sleeping position both at night and to rest during the day. So, dear ladies, let us speak about helper and guardian of future mommies’ sleep – pregnancy pillow. We’ll discuss the problem from all angles: what pregnancy pillow to choose; what is the best, comfiest and safest pillow for you, and what filler is better.
Pregnant Women’s Sleep Disturbance – Reasons
Being pregnant is not easy. To bear a child – is hard work. Thus, it is not a surprise that around 80% of women have sleep disturbances during pregnancy.
Psychological reasons affect sleeping routine adversely during the first weeks of pregnancy: unwarranted sensitiveness, anxious thoughts, worries about future changes in life. An unstable state of mind may result even in nightmares.
Physiological reasons for bad sleep start to dominate as the baby grows up and the body workload increases: digestion process becomes upset, abdominal swelling starts to bother, breathing hampers, feet, and backache, the pressure of the womb onto the urinary bladder makes wake up more often at nights. One can even suffer from convulsions at night. It is the final stages of pregnancy when it’s the most difficult to find the comfortable resting position:
- it is not advisable to sleep on your belly for future baby’s sake;
- it is not advisable to sleep on your belly for future baby’s sake;
- it is also not advisable to sleep on your back – the internal organs will undergo the high pressure of the womb, especially postcava, a proper blood circulation disturbs, causing fatigue, and limbs oedema;
- baby’s moves can also disturb your sleep: uncomfortable position may prevent enough oxygen from reaching your future child.
How Can You Help Yourself?
Try to find the position in which you and your baby will feel comfortable. Specialists recommend sleeping on your side using a few pillows: one underneath your head, another under your belly, the third one – between your knees, and the fourth one (small one) underneath your lower back.
But you can replace all four pillows with one big and comfy, specially designed pregnancy pillow for future mommies.
Basic Pregnancy Pillow Selection Criteria
- Safety for both, mother and child. The maternity pillow itself is completely safe. The materials it is made of can be of danger. The pillow-case should be sewn from natural materials only. Usually, it is cotton or coarse calico. These materials are hypoallergic, hygroscopic and easy to look after. The filling can be artificial. Its main purpose is to keep its shape and to be firm.
- Comfortability and safety are the main selection criteria. The pregnancy pillow is needed to ease the position and to increase the women’s comfort during pregnancy. A good pillow is soft enough, capable of changing its shape and support the pregnant woman’s body as well as the baby’s weight.
- Compatibility. Some pregnancy pillows can change their shapes. They continue to serve their masters even after the baby is born. These pillows are used even for feeding and sleeping with a newborn. They support the child, creating a bolster around its back and preventing it from falling.
- Size. As a rule, pregnancy pillows are designed according to the standard height of the future mom. The basic height of the product is 160–170 cm at length. There are small pillows only 1 meter long. But they are suitable for feeding, not sleeping. Tall mothers can choose the pillow 250–320 cm long. But keep in mind that your height – is not everything. The pillow is supposed to fit your bed. That is why you need to choose the pregnancy pillow according to the size of your sleeping place.
What Shape Is Better?
The shape of the pregnancy pillow is chosen individually, depending on your desires and needs. Some products are designed to support the whole body during sleep, while others help to relax some certain parts of the body that ache and hurt.
The pillows can remind you of the letters: “U”, “C”, “J”, “I”, “G”, and “r”, and there are models that look like a boomerang. All of them take into account the anatomical and physiological peculiarities of pregnant women. The length of the pillow is measured at its inner edge. The majority of the products have bolsters 35 cm wide.
Pregnancy Pillow Types And Shapes
The product helps to lower muscle tension during sleep. It consists of two separate mobile parts. Each part has little hooks that allow changing the shape of the pillow. This product is comfortable for lying on your side; it can be put under the belly if you decide to take a rest during the day.
Wedge-shaped pillow: This pillow supports the belly of those who like to sleep on the side of the body. It relaxes tension from the lower back; it can also be used in a seating position. Putting it underneath your lower back when you rest, you can ease your spine tension and provide yourself with a comfortable body position.
This group includes numerous pillows to support various body parts. The length of these bedding elements starts from 150 cm. It is called “a pillow” only formally. These pillows vary in shapes:
U-shaped pillow: This is the most comfortable pillow there is. This product looks like a long horseshoe. A pillow like this will make you feel like in a cocoon. The pillow supports the back, the belly, and the head equally. You won’t have to turn and replace it during your sleep if you want to roll over on the other side. There is room for your baby, too. Since the pillow wraps you all over the body, creating the feeling of relaxation and flight, you need to choose the size carefully, so that your whole body would lay on it. So if your height is 160 cm –U-280 will be a perfect choice. If you are taller – choose U–340. It is also very comfortable for breastfeeding: it can be easily transformed into a comfy chair-nest. This pillow has a few cons but they are significant. It takes a lot of space in the bed so it won’t fit a small sleeping place. What is more, this is not the best option if you are used to cuddling your husband.
C-shaped pillow: Smaller than U-shaped, this pillow doesn’t require an additional one for your head. It is capable of wrapping almost all over your body; it will fit a mid-sized bed. It enables you to place your head, back, or belly comfortably, lowering the muscles tension. The round smooth shape can be used for sleeping as well as for breastfeeding. Can be transformed into a lovely nest for your baby. Unfortunately, if you are used to moving restlessly in your bed, you will have to turn the pillow over.
G-shaped pillow: This biggest product (350 cm) reminds us of a bagel with an improved shape. Its lines are smooth and take into account all the curves and bends of the body. The pillow is universal, great for daily rest. You will be able to take any comfortable position: lean your back, your belly, wrap it with your legs. It has a little tail – a special treat for your legs. G-pillow can be easily used for breastfeeding if you need extra support for your hand, breast, or lower back. It is perfect for all mommies and all pregnancy periods. This pillow helps to lower the muscle tension, get into a healthy position for a proper blood flow, and to avoid possible nerve endings jams, and headaches. But again, it requires a lot of space in your bed.
J-shaped pillow – Also called Big pillow: It looks like U-pillow, but only with one leg shorter than the other. This is an optimum variant for a mid-sized bed. It has all the functions U-pillow can provide you with, but only more compact in size. You won’t need an additional pillow for the head; there is enough space for a child. Your back and belly will thank you. Due to its convenient shape and size, you can even take the pillow with you on the trip.
L-shaped pillow: Another version of U-pillow, with a tail for your head and neck or your legs. The pillow supports your back and belly. It is relatively small, so it won’t take the entire bed. You can actually bend and twist it any way you want. Since it supports the only side of the body you will have to turn with the pillow during your sleep. Perfect for everybody.
I-shaped pillow: This is a long bolster without any additional curves and tails. It won’t be much of a help if you place it under the belly but it is super comfortable to relax your back. Young children love to cuddle this pillow.
Bagel-pillow and I-pillow are one-sided, very comfy, and suitable for small beds, children and can also function as additional elements to place your body comfortably. If you are 160 cm tall, I-170 and Bagel-170 will do just fine. If you are taller – then choose I-190 and Bagel-190.
Pregnancy Pillow Filling
When choosing the pillow, remember that it should be safe and hypoallergic. A product of high quality should neither make any screeching sounds nor have a smell. The most popular fillings are hollow fiber and expanded polystyrene.
Hollow fiber is an ideal pillow filling. It contains no glue because the fibers attach to each other under the high-temperature effect. Hollow fiber consists of hollow spiral vertical fibers that make the pillow springy. The pillows with hollow fiber will serve you a long life, they are easy to wash and don’t lose their shape.
Expanded polystyrene or polystyrene foam is a universal filling, which meets high quality and safety demands. Polystyrene foam as a pillow filling contains tiny balls 1 mm in diameter. These pillows cost more. This filling allows the pillow to adjust to your body contour without bending under its weight, it doesn’t spring.
Both these filings:
- don’t absorb smells;
- resistant to mites, mold, and other germs;
- can be washed (delicate washing);
- keep their shapes.
Find your pregnancy pillow, don’t hesitate, and buy it. You won’t regret it because it will not only ensure your relaxing night’s sleep and daily rest but also will help you to breastfeed after your child’s birth and will keep a comfy company to any member of your family.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.