You’re significant other will be so excited to share the bed with you and your new pregnancy pillow!
Introduction To Sleeping While Pregnant
We’ve all heard the myths about sleeping while pregnant. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who manage to get comfortable enough for some good shut-eye, you’re woken up every couple of hours to pee anyway. Studies show that 78% of pregnant women have difficulty sleeping. Between heartburn, nausea, and cramping, this is one of the times the body needs sleep the most — and when it can be hardest.
Turns out there are some specific rules when it comes to sleeping for pregnant women. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for obvious reasons, especially once your belly pops out and you begin to show. Sleeping on your back is another no-go, as it can lead to your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels, which can cause trouble breathing, backaches, and low blood pressure, all of which can be bad for baby.
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends sleeping on your side, specifically your left side. Sleeping on your right side can put extra pressure on your liver, especially when your body is sacrificing room for your organs to accommodate your baby. Sleeping on your left will avoid this issue, and is also better for circulation, which means more blood flow for baby, too.
Pregnancy (and even postpartum) can lead to increased body temperature and night sweats through the night, so be sure to check out our list of Best Mattresses for Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, and Menopause.
Keep in mind, these pregnancy pillows aren’t solely for pregnant women. If you have back or knee issues and have trouble getting comfortable at night, you might want to try one of these pregnancy pillows. You can also use them while sitting in a chair, sitting in bed, or even in the car during long drives.
There Are 5 Different Types of Pregnancy Pillow:
- “C” shape. C-shaped pillows provide support and comfort for the head, neck, back, and pelvic area. They are awesome for relieving any pelvic tension and reducing water retention in the legs and ankles. These aren’t the best pillows for combo sleepers who like to switch positions or toss and turn a lot during the night, because you will need to adjust the pillow with you when you change sides. The C-shaped pillow is one of the best options for plus-sized women because the open-sided design allows for the pillow to be used in a variety of ways and shapes.
- “U” shape. U-shaped pillows are great to use to support your whole body, meaning head, neck, back, belly, knees, and even ankles. It’s best for women who are most used to sleeping on their backs at night, or women who find themselves tossing and turning a lot at night since you don’t need to flip the shape with you or readjust the headrest part. Because of this, this pillow is a great option for both finicky sleepers and pregnancy. The U-shaped pillow is typically the most expensive pregnancy pillow you can get because it’s so big. If you share a full or maybe even a queen size bed with your partner, you might want to look at the other options on this list so that it doesn’t take up the whole mattress.
- “J” shape. This one can also be referred to as a candy cane-shaped pillow. It’s great for head, neck, and back support. The J-shape is similar to the U-shaped pillow in how it’s used, only it’s smaller and missing the extra side. This makes it a better option for smaller beds, or for couples who like to cuddle. The missing side also makes this pillow less versatile when it comes to using it while sitting, so if you planned on using it for that, you might want to go for the U-shaped pillow instead.
- Wedge shape. The wedge-shaped pillow allows you to prop your torso up while sitting or sleeping, or you can use them under a pregnant belly. These are nice for those that get too hot or too cold while they sleep because you can place a heating pad or cooling pack between you and the wedge. Sleeping propped up can also help those who suffer from heartburn, pregnant or not. Wedge-shaped pillows are small and easily portable as well.
- Body pillow shape. These are basically normal pillows, just longer. They’re great to cuddle, but don’t provide much back or hip support. Body pillows are the more popular pillows for those who actually aren’t pregnant, but like to use them to sleep more comfortably. They also tend to be the most inexpensive type of pregnancy pillow.
Bonus: Don’t ditch the pregnancy pillow once baby arrives — they’re great for postpartum recovery as well.
Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy
A great pregnancy pillow is the first step to more comfortable sleep, but there are other things you can do to catch Zs before baby arrives:
- Exercise during the day to reduce nighttime cramping, if deemed safe by an expert
- Cut back on fluids a few hours before bed to avoid waking up to use the bathroom
- Snack on bland and filling foods like rice and avoid spicy ones to reduce the likelihood of nighttime nausea and heartburn
- Talk to your healthcare provider before opting for a supplement or medication during pregnancy