Pregnancy can come with lots of unexpected challenges — a good night’s sleep being one of them. And while we’ve covered other maternity must-haves — like nursing pillows, pregnancy-safe skin-care products, stretchy leggings, and non-hideous winter coats
You need a whole lot of energy when you’re expecting. After all, you’re growing a baby inside that beautiful bump. But just when you need rest the most, it can be hard to come by — especially in the second and third trimesters, when finding the perfect sleeping position becomes more of a challenge. Snuggling up to a pregnancy pillow can make all the difference.
Why you need a maternity pillow
Your growing belly means two things for your sleep setup: limited options for safe sleep positions and new pressure points for the positions that actually are safe for sleep.
Unfortunately for back and stomach sleepers, side sleeping is best during pregnancy. Stomach sleeping is off the table for obvious reasons — sleeping on a beach ball that kicks isn’t particularly relaxing. But back sleeping is also discouraged since it can compress an important vein that carries blood to your baby.
That means side sleeping is the only option when you're further along in pregnancy, but your growing bump will also put increased pressure on your hips and back — and that's where a pregnancy body pillow comes in handy. These pillows provide support to different spots on your body; some to your back, others to your knees, others just to your belly, and some to all of the above. Using one can make you more comfortable when you head to bed at night and help prevent aches and pains in the morning.
Choosing the best pregnancy pillow
This will depend on your preferences, but there are a few things to consider when choosing a maternity body pillow.
Size: Pregnancy pillows can range from a wedge that’s no bigger than a standard pillow all the way up to a U-shaped body pillow that hugs you front and back. How much room you’re willing to give up in bed is up to you (and maybe your partner), but it’s definitely something to think about before you buy.
Shape: Some pillows curve to tuck under your head and between your knees, while others run parallel to your body. Still, other pregnancy body pillows have a dip that cradles your bump. Depending on where you're experiencing discomfort, one option might make more sense. One other factor to consider: If you often switch the side that you sleep on during the night (and plan to continue doing so, even as your bump makes it difficult), you might opt for a U-shaped pillow that you won’t have to readjust every time you move.
Material: If you run warm, you may prefer a cotton cover instead of one made of polyester, which is less breathable.