Pregnancy Pillows for a Good Night's Sleep

How to Get Comfortable When You're Expecting

Finding a comfortable sleeping position when pregnant can be a real struggle. It seems that as soon as you find a comfortable position, a well-placed kick, jab, or body ache begins the search for a new position. Many expecting moms use pregnancy pillows to help support their back, tummy, and legs, especially during the last four months or so of pregnancy.

Pregnancy pillows are often recruited to do double duty once baby arrives, offering support during breast feeding, a 'barrier' to help corral baby when he or she starts rolling across the floor, a support pillow for baby when he or she starts sitting on their own, etc. There are many different styles of pregnancy pillows to choose from, and here are some of the best pregnancy pillows we've found:

Maternity Pillows

Maternity pillows and pregnancy pillows are usually used interchangably. After all, you use both types when you're pregnant. For most merchants, however, maternity pillows refer to two pillows in one. They are usually attached with either an adjustable pad or Velcro tabs. There is a pillow on one side to support your back, and the other pillow supports your tummy. The maternity pillows aren’t quite as versatile as the full body pregnancy pillows, but then again, they give you the support exactly where your tummy and back need it.

Sleeping Bean Body Pillows

The unique Sleeping Bean is the pregnancy support body pillow that started it all. First recommended by Parents Magazine in 1979, it’s been helping pregnant women sleep ever since. The Sleeping Bean is extra long (5 1/2 ft.) and a straight, cylindrical shape which makes it perfect to cuddle up to in a semi-fetal position, supporting your growing tummy, providing a pillow to tuck between your knees, and still have room enough to rest your head.

I had a maternity pillow similar to the Sleeping Bean and I loved it! In fact, I ended up sharing a hospital bed with my pregnancy pillow the four nights we were hospitalized before our boys were born, and was almost able to get comfortable (I was very uncomfortable without it - being almost comfortable was a huge improvement).

Pregnancy Body Pillows

Full body pillows are what most people think of when they say 'pregnancy pillows'. The 'main' pillow portion (not couting the 'hook' or curves) of pregnancy body pillows are usually in the 4 - 5 foot range, although there are some u-shaped pillows that are almost twice that. Pregnancy pillows are designed to support the back and cradle the belly. They come in a wide range of shapes and styles (hooks, u-shaped, c-shaped, butterfly-wings, just to name a few). A lot of pregnant moms prefer a more cylindrical shape which offers versatility, while other moms much prefer the ‘hook’, ‘c’, or ‘u-shaped’ pillows. The best way to decide which might work best for you is to check the opinions, reviews and recommendations from friends and new-moms who purchased the various styles to see what the pros and cons of each style might be.

Pregnancy Wedges

Pregnancy wedges usually come alone or in pairs. Pregnancy wedges are a (you guessed it!) wedge-shaped pillow that supports your belly when you lie on your side. Some brands come in a set of two wedges, one to support your tummy and the other supporting your back. The wedges also offer good support for your back, head and shoulders when sitting up, riding in a car, etc.

What To Look For in a Pregnancy Pillow:

The reason why there are so many different types of pillows is because there are so many different pregnant women. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ pregnancy pillow, just the one that’s right for you. Some things to think about when looking into buying a maternity pillow:

  1. Removable, washable cover. Very important since your pregnancy pillow is going to be your best friend for several months.
  2. Pillow covers. Pillow covers will extend the life of your pillow, and tend to be more comfortable than sleeping directly on the pillow. Especially if your maternity pillow doesn’t come with a removable cover.
  3. Pillow materials. If you don’t like feather, down, or fiber-fill, you might want to make sure that your pregnancy pillow isn’t filled with these products. Watch out for ‘foam’ pillows. Many pregnancy wedges are made of foam, which makes sense, but there are some solid foam maternity pillows on the market that might be a little less expensive than down or poly-fiber filled pillows, but aren’t nearly as comfortable.

Alternatives to Maternity Pillows

Pregnancy pillows are well worth the money, but if there’s no room in your budget for specialized pillows, and you have room in your bed, you can use regular ones. Tuck one between your knees to help reduce back strain. Place another one (or two or three) behind your back to keep from rolling over. A third (or fourth, fifth and sixth) can be put under your tummy and chest to help support your tummy. It just depends on how comfortable you want to be - and how much room you have in your bed for all those pillows!

Additional Information and Articles:

Pregnancy and Maternity Pillows

Common Reasons Why Pregnant Women Do Not Sleep

Pregnancy Sleep Advice